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Ten Tools to Speed Recovery

When working hard to lose weight or enhance performance, many of us forget the importance recovery can play in achieving our goals. If you’re a person who loves to exercise frequently and train hard, just remember that too much of a good thing is not, well, a good thing. Your body needs time to repair in order to
re-build and grow stronger.

Here are 10 tools to help your mind and body rest, rejuvenate and step up to the next challenge you bring on.

  1. Daily Nutrition Habits: What you eat and drink every day determines your athletic potential. If you eat poorly on a daily basis, your athletics potential ceiling will be low. Maintaining daily optimal health through a nutritious diet will do more to speed your recovery from workouts than any other factor.
  2. Sleep Habits: Sleep is when your body does its best repairing and rebuilding. If you skimp on sleep, you will delay recovery.
  3. During Exercise Nutrition Habits: Fueling and hydrating properly during exercise will put you in the best possible shape at the end of a session so you need less total recovery time. For easy workouts that last less than an hour, water will suffice. For workouts lasting longer than one hour, you should consume a sports drink that contains carbohydrates, electrolytes and possibly protein.
  4. Post-Exercise Nutrition Habits: Post-exercise nutrition is vital to help your body rehydrate, replenish electrolytes, replace carbohydrates, provide protein and supply antioxidants. By refueling within 30 minutes of the end of exercise, you can quickly replenish muscle glycogen. If you miss this window, it can take up to 48 hours to fully replenish your muscle glycogen fuel stores.
  5. Remove Heat Stresses: Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the simplest things, so whenever possible, drink fluids to cool your core temperature, wear moisture-wicking fabrics that don’t trap heat, and apply cool compresses to your skin to release heat.
  6. Time Management: Running all over town or doing a month’s worth of errands in a day does not constitute as a recovery day. Manage your time well so you’re better able to plan nutritious meals, get a full night’s sleep and recover for your next workout. 
  7. Stress Management: Do what you can to reduce ongoing stress in your life. Not only has chronic stress been shown to cause illness, injury and burnout—it’s also not good for recovery and overall athletic performance.
  8. Pre-Exercise Nutrition: Ensure your carbohydrate tank is full and you are fully hydrated before beginning a workout. If you work out first thing in the morning, consume some low glycemic index carbohydrates with water to replenish fuel stores.
  9. Yoga: Stretching, relaxation and meditation have been shown to speed recovery.
  10. Massage: Massages increase circulation, flush away waste products and bring fresh nutrients—all while promoting relaxation.

 

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