Whether you're a professional athlete or a sports lover, the question doesn't change: post-workout muscle recovery is critical to keep your muscles healthy and improve your athletic performance over time.
Let us now try to answer questions including: what, in general, are the recovery times? What are the recommended practices to facilitate muscle recovery? Are there tools that can help us in this process? But we go with order and we start from the bases.
Why do you need to perform a period of post-workout muscle recovery?
Training - especially intensive training - subjects our muscles to hard work. By activating some kind of defense mechanism, our body reacts to the effort of training increasing muscle mass to cope with fatigue.
At the end of a workout session, muscles are tested and weakened by physical activity. Here comes the recovery period: we must give our body the time to recover the forces, this because going to further strain a weakened muscle risks wearing it, damage it and reduce its mass.
What are the recommended practices to promote muscle recovery?
Firstly, we need to clarify the difference between active and liability recovery: in the first case, we have a series of defatication exercises that reduce the presence of lactic acid; in the second case, we find for example sleep, feeding and hydration, activities that rehabilitate the body from within.
Let's start with what looks like the most simple and easy to apply: take, for example, hydration. Everyone knows you need to drink about 2 liters of water every day, few realize that in the event of sporting activity it is necessary to supplement more fluids. Particularly, approximately 500ml are recommended during pre-workout and as many are recommended during recovery post-training.
As far as active recovery is concerned, we have a number of low-intensity post-workout exercises or, alternatively, in the following days. These include, for example, low intensity interval training (LIIT), slow running and stretching. For the following days, there is also the possibility of low intensity swimming. Active recovery promotes rapid return to homeostasis, the balance that keeps our organism alive and makes it work properly.
Are there tools or therapies that can help sportsmen in their recovery period?
Some muscle recovery exercises, especially stretching, can be performed at free body. Still, there are tools and therapies to help the athlete in recovery. First of all is the cryotherapy (find out everything there is to know about this treatment in our deepening).
Cryotherapy - literally cold therapy - is a treatment that subjects the body to temperatures ranging from -110 ° to - 140 °. This can be total body, with the goal of acting globally, or localized, with the aim of treating a specific part of our body.
Cryotherapy has anti-inflammatory properties and works for both the treatment of injuries and bruises, either for a faster recovery between intensive and subsequent training (this is because it can improve limb mobility and reduce pain perception).
As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, active recovery may also include low intensity activities carried out in the water. This is because thanks to the hydrostatic thrust, our body is relieved of part of the weight it normally has on dry land. Among the tools that can help us carry out water exercises are the expanded foam, hydrobike, or water treadmills, ideal for walking and running
What, in principle, are the recovery times?
There is no single answer: each body is unique not to mention that there are completely different lifestyles. We can say that, in the middle intensity post-training phase, an athlete without particular injuries and with a healthy diet can recover with a day off.
The issue could change if, during training, the athlete has suffered a tear or a more serious injury. In these circumstances it is necessary to assess with an expert the extent of the damage and establish a rest period ad hoc.