In order for your body to rebuild itself after exercise and prevent injury, recovery is a must. If you are a lifter, it’s important to know that each muscle group you work, you need 36-72 hours of rest in between. Furthermore, it can take anywhere from 24-48 hours for your muscles to become sore after a workout. This is what is known as delayed onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS. It is vital to be aware of that so you don’t overdo it and injure yourself. Here are a few ways to maximize your recovery in order to perform your best during your next exercise session.
Sleep and Rest
- Your body repairs itself during sleep – it’s important to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
- For higher intensity workouts, around 48 hours of rest should be allowed before training the same muscle group to avoid overtraining.
- Rest could also include less intense activities such as yoga.
- This plays an important role in how your body will recover.
- Hydration should occur before, during, and after exercise.
- During exercise, it’s vital to replenish the fluids lost during sweating.
- General recommendation: 5-10 ml/kg of your body weight.
- Food is energy.
- Overall body function, body composition, and how we use our fuel while exercising, is all supported by sufficient energy intake.
- Post exercise protein is required for muscle repair while carbohydrates are important to replenish the fast-acting energy stores.
Stretching and Mobility
- It’s important to stretch each muscle group for at least 60 seconds
- Keep stretching movements slow and controlled.
- Stretching can diminish feelings of tightness and restriction after exercise.
- This can alleviate lingering soreness.
- Dynamic workouts entail a few minutes of an activity that will elevate your heart rate and circulate your blood (i.e. jogging) followed by a dynamic movements (i.e. lunges)
- Low intensity aerobic exercise should be performed after a workout.
- The goal is to lower heart rate while preventing blood pooling.
- Active cooldowns circulate cellular waste products to prevent them from piling up in your muscles.
Written by GUADS staff member Emily Hayburn, with contributions from acsm.org