How Lifestyle and Technology can Accelerate Recovery from Exercise
Authors: Therabody Scientists: Tim Roberts, MSc; Kyle Silvey, PhD; Michelle Darian, MS, MPH, RD, LDN
Recovery is the body’s intentional pursuit of better health, wellness, and performance. The body is resilient — and designed to recover, both physically and mentally, naturally. Therabody has technology that is purposely designed to enhance and expedite recovery. Leveraging the science behind the body’s natural restorative processes, Therabody has created an ecosystem of devices that can enhance the body’s natural healing processes — to get you back to the activities you enjoy the most, faster and stronger.
Learn more about the science behind recovery, why recovery is a critical component of any exercise and wellness routine, and the science behind recovery treatment technology.
What Does Recovery Mean?
Recovery is a term often used, but its meaning is nuanced. At its core, recovery encompasses both mental and physical health. Rather than a purely restful state, recovery is an active process of returning to baseline after exertion or stress.
The body constantly ebbs and flows between effort and stress compared to recovery. And the body is resilient, with natural adaptive processes to handle stressors. However, prioritizing recovery enables more effective responses to subsequent challenges.
And now, because of the technological and scientific evolution of the last two decades, technology can enhance the recovery process — allowing us to take control by integrating lifestyle and technology to expedite recovery.
Why is it Important to Recover Post-Exercise?
Allowing the body to recover can help facilitate both mental and physical adaptation to exercise and help reduce the risk of negative outcomes like illness and injury. Here are a few specific benefits to prioritizing recovery.
- Improved Athletic Performance: Recovery allows the body to adapt and get stronger. Exercise causes microscopic tears in muscle fibers and tissue damage. Proper rest and recovery give the body time to repair this damage and adapt, getting stronger for the next training bout.
- Prevents Overtraining: Rest days and recovery periods are needed to prevent overtraining, burnout, and potential injury. Overtraining can lead to decreased performance.
- Reduces Injury Risk: Recovery allows exercise-related aches, pains, and injuries to heal properly. Exercising through pain often exacerbates injuries. Adequate recovery time can help avoid stress fractures and impact injuries.
- Helps to Build Muscles: Recovery days allow protein synthesis and muscle building to occur after the microtears from exercising are repaired.
- Improves Mental Readiness: Remember, recovery is both physical and mental. Recovery provides mental recharging to maintain motivation and focus for upcoming workouts and races. This helps avoid mental fatigue.
What Does Recovery Include?
Because recovery is an active process, your actions can help to expedite the mind and body’s recovery. Here are five lifestyle habits that can help to expedite exercise recovery.
Implement Rest Days
Taking rest days or time between bouts of activity is critical for proper recovery. Depending on training schedules, volume, and intensity, aim to incorporate 1-2 rest days per week to allow the body to adapt to stresses. Incorporate low-impact activities like walking, yoga, and stretching into your training routine to facilitate recovery by increasing blood flow without excess strain. It is also important to prioritize extra rest after intense training sessions, competitions, or when fatigue sets in.
Get Adequate Sleep
Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is an import component of physical and mental recovery. Striving for 7-9 hours of sleep per night allows the body to repair tissues broken down during exercise, consolidate memories, and replenish energy stores. Maintaining consistent bedtime and wake-up time sets the body up to sleep better. Strategies like limiting exposure to blue light from screens, keeping the bedroom cool, and managing stress can further enhance sleep.