Most people who know me know that rest and recovery is not my strong suit. I do not really have a middle speed- I tend to sprint or walk slowly. About a month ago, I ended up in the ER with terrible stomach pain, and shortly after, in the OR and having my appendix removed. As far as the experience went, I was very lucky. It did not rupture, and I only had to spend one night in the hospital. Thank goodness for modern medicine, because any longer would have driven me crazy. Ironically, the surgery has not been the hardest part, it is the recovery. I am just now able to start lifting light things again, and am re-teaching my body how. It is amazing, the things we take for granted. So here I am, someone who has spent my entire life an athlete, and I am getting a crash course in recovery and re-teaching myself the basics. It has been refreshing in a way. I am VERY aware of what my abdominal muscles are in control of, which is basically every move I make. It has also really reminded me of how important recovery is, and that is what I wanted to express in this article.
Most of us who love exercise have been guilty of overtraining at one point or another. Overtraining can have some serious symptoms, including feeling drained, lacking energy, mild leg soreness, aches and pains, insomnia, headaches, decreased immunity, decrease in training capacity, moodiness, depression, loss of enthusiasm, decreased appetite, and increased incidence of injuries. That is no small list. Overtraining is serious, and can cause your body to literally start shutting down. Taking 1-2 days a week off can really help your training, and help your recovery. When I say off, it does not mean sitting on the couch doing nothing. It means go out and take a walk or do something light and recreational. Moving is good for your body, but it should not always be at a high intensity.
There are a few ways to think of recovery in terms of exercise. Nutrition is a huge part of recovery. There is a very specific timeframe in which you should be eating to help your body repair itself. Depending on the activity, it should be a fairly balanced meal or snack with adequate protein and healthy fat. Essentially, we damage our muscles in order to make them stronger. That means we are responsible for helping them fix themselves, too. Your body will progress faster if you give it the rest and nutrition it needs.
Another part of recovery is knowledge about your body. Listen to it. If it is beaten down and exhausted, give it a break for a day. Knowing how to do maintenance on your body is also a HUGE part of recovery. Using bands, lacrosse balls, foam rollers, and other mobility tools, you can really help to prevent injury or musculoskeletal damage. Learn about your muscles, and do exercises that help to stabilize your spine and other joints. Core Planks and Supermans can often help to eliminate back pain. Leg extensions, Lunges, and Hamstring Curls can help with knee pain. The more you know about your body and how it works, the better.
Core Stability Work Out of the Month
20 Lunges, Forward and Lateral
12 Hamstring Curls
8 Walk Outs
6 Negative PushUps
4 Frog Jumps
2 Minutes of Plank, even if you need to break it up or modify try for the full 2 minutes
Don't be afraid to use a Foam Roller after your workouts either!!
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