Recovery is the restoration of physiological and psychological processes, so the body is prepared to train again at an appropriate level. Recovery includes proper nutrition for refueling, hydrating, repairing your muscles, restoring glycogen, reducing inflammation, and rest so the body is not compromised.
Recovery from exercise and athletic training is now recognized more that ever. There's an abundance of modalities to help enhance performance and recovery for our modern-day bodies. It is important to keep in mind, just like your training program, it is best to tailor your recovery methods to your individual needs.
If you keep up with sports and pop culture, we're now trying to identify humans as "The Goat." Many strive to be the "greatest of all time" by doing whatever it takes to be stronger, faster, bigger, slimmer, and more successful to dominate life. Unless you're genetically blessed, to be the greatest of all time, or if you just want to greatly improve aesthetics and performance, it requires a lot of stress on the body. Many recognize the need for recovery in their active lifestyle, but knowing whether you have fully recovered may be questionable.
Why include recovery into your active lifestyle?
Another reason why recovery is more recognized and needed, is the evolution of the fitness industry. The growing assortment of fitness classes, apps, and not so qualified fitness professionals putting your one-of-a-kind body through a "one size fits all" workout that's not designed for you, may be causing you more pain than gain.
Those who do not get sufficient recovery, over time, compromise homeostasis (we'll explain that shortly) and immune function. They're increasing their chances of injury, illness, and overtraining which often creates reoccurring pestering issues.
If health, fitness, and recovery are a priority to your lifestyle, it is important to understand your goals, level of training, body type, components of your training program, any additional stress (environmental, psychological, emotional, chemical, social, etc.), your nutritional and fluid intake, and risk factors (age, diseases, physical limitations, disabilities, etc.). Many of these factors can suddenly change. It is important to have a plan and continue to adapt your workouts, diet, and recovery methods to achieve the ultimate goal, homeostasis.
What is homeostasis?
Homeostasis is the ability to maintain, in dynamic balance, the stability of the internal environment. In the human body (and goats), that means there needs to be a steady state of all body systems, including temperature, fluid balance, oxygen levels, resting heart rate, and blood sugar levels.
As most of us know, our bodies go through a lot of stress during workouts, and we disturb its balanced state by pushing our systems out of their normal state. You're causing muscle tears, dehydration, fluctuating body temperatures, changes in blood pressure, changes in pH, altered breathing patterns, and hormonal changes which produce symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, body aches, soreness, swelling, dehydration, changes in mood, and the list can keep going.,
A lot may be happening within our bodies, but our bodies are built to handle internal changes, so we continue to push through each repetition over and over. As the intensity changes, our body adapts to the physical, metabolic, respiratory, and cardiovascular effects. With more consist exercise, the body can adapt more easily and allow us to increase muscle strength, endurance, and bone density.
How does our body maintain homeostasis during exercise?
GIMME FUEL! 🍽
No one gets anywhere without fuel. We eat food that contains glucose. Our muscles use the glucose as energy, and the pancreas adapts our insulin levels to maintain our blood sugar. As we increase intensity of our workouts, our body requires more oxygen so we can convert food into fuel. Our liver also helps restore our fuel levels back within our muscle which is stored and used for short higher-intensity exercise bouts which is quickly depleted.
THE PUMP! 💪
Every movement our body makes we're pumping blood. During exercise, our heart rate increases and pumps more blood into our demanding muscles. Our adrenal glands excrete hormones to help signal where the blood is going in the body, and redirects the blood to our cardiovascular, respiratory, and muscles systems so our bodies can adapt and push through the workout.
THE SWEAT! 😅
When our body is moving at a faster rate our body temperature elevates and our nervous system tell our sweat glands to help cool it down. Sweating is the product of temperature regulation that brings us back to a balanced state. Some people sweat more than others and relate it directly to how effective their workout was. Fitness veterans know you should never judge your workout based on your sweat; it does not necessarily mean you're getting results.
What can we do to help maintain homeostasis?
How to achieve homeostasis is different for each person, but the basics to maintaining homeostasis is breathing to get efficient oxygen supply, hydrating to replenish and maintain fluid levels so nutrients can flow to your cells and organs, and fueling with a diet that accommodates your activity level and performance goals. You also need to be nice to your muscles and joints, they'll be holding you together for the rest of your life. Pump them up a little bit with a warm-up before dominating a workout. Spend time working on mobility and range of motion. You want your muscles, joints, and connective tissues to maintain balanced tensions to prevent pain and inflammation. If you're living the "go hard or go home" style, don't be lazy and skip over your recovery.
If you need help planning your recovery program, click below to request a consultation and we'll reach out to schedule an appointment.