The endorphins released when we exercise can be quite addictive. Nothing beats that feeling after a good workout in the gym or while out for a run.
But how important is workout recovery, and how should you go about your recovery process?
We’ve listed some of the main benefits of allowing your body to recover properly between strenuous exercise routines and added a bonus tip to the mix to help you recover even faster.
So here are 7 reasons why workout recovery is vital for every athlete – and how your body recovers.
#1 Muscle Repair and Growth
During strenuous exercise routines, your muscle fibers will incur micro tears. These muscle fibers grow bigger and stronger if you allow enough time to recover adequately.
During this time, the body uses a natural process called protein synthesis to reproduce proteins lost during exercise, using information encoded in a person’s DNA.
This protein is an important building block that the body needs to repair muscle tissue that has been damaged. Although this natural process can occur if an athlete has little or no rest, it won’t be nearly as effective.
For the best muscle repair and growth, athletes should take their workout recovery seriously.
#2 Glycogen Restoration
Our muscles naturally store glycogen, which serves as a primary source of energy. Intense physical activity depletes this energy reserve.
By taking in carbohydrates, you can replenish your glycogen stores and ensure that your body has the fuel (energy) needed for the next day’s workout.
If you don’t think about your post-workout recovery, you’ll be running on empty, and you can just imagine how far that will get you.
#3 Fluid and Electrolyte Balance
When we exercise, we sweat. It’s our bodies’ way of keeping us cool and preventing overheating.
You’ll notice that although your sweat glands are located all over your body, they are concentrated in areas where you need them most – for example, on your forehead.
When we sweat, we lose a lot of electrolyte-rich fluid. This fluid needs to be replaced and this happens with enough recovery time.
Allowing your body to cool down and drinking enough water or a sports drink that contains a lot of electrolytes will help bring the body’s natural electrolyte balance back in check.
#4 Central Nervous System Recovery
Intense exercise can stress the central nervous system.
Adequate recovery, including rest and sleep, allows your nervous system to recuperate, enhancing coordination, reaction time, and overall performance.
#5 Inflammation Reduction
Every athlete will, at some point, have a tendon or joint that just feels stiff and sore… and, in many cases, inflamed.
Inflammation is a natural process in which your body’s immune system identifies a pressure point (or point where the body has been overstimulated – like a tendon) and sends white blood cells to the affected area to fight off any foreign pathogens.
That’s all good and well, but the inflammation brought on by the increase of white blood cells can be quite sensitive and sore. This reduces your body’s ability to function normally.
Think, for example, of how much a person with tennis elbow struggles to swing a racquet.
When you take the needed time off between workouts, you give your joints time to rest and heal and for the inflammation to subside, allowing you to return to your normal routine.
But even with a day or two of recovery, muscle soreness and inflammation can persist. So, what can you do to speed up the process?
One option is to take a product that has high concentrations of carnosine. Carnosine has proved to be an effective compound that helps reduce inflammation in joints, tendons and muscles.
A product at the forefront of harnessing the natural anti-inflammatory power of carnosine is CarnoSport Gel.
If your joints and ligaments are prone to inflammation, apply the gel directly to these areas to enhance your workout recovery. It’s 100% natural, has no side effects, and is completely doping-free.
#6 Hormonal Balance
Exercise can affect the hormonal balance in your body.
Consider, for instance, a person who does heavy lifting or HIIT exercises. They often display higher levels of testosterone.
That’s because testosterone plays a key role in muscle protein synthesis, promoting muscle growth and strength.
Another hormone that is often affected by excessive exercise is our fight or flight hormones – Adrenaline (Epinephrine) and Noradrenaline (Norepinephrine)
These hormones increase during exercise, especially in response to high-intensity or challenging activities. That’s because both Adrenaline and noradrenaline increase heart rate, blood flow to muscles, and the availability of energy sources, preparing the body for physical exertion.
These are just two examples of hormone levels that will increase to abnormal levels with prolonged high-intensity training, but there are many more.
Proper recovery, including sleep and stress management, helps maintain a healthy hormonal balance, which is crucial for overall well-being and fitness.
#7 Prevention of Overtraining
Overtraining is literally the Achilles’ heel of professional athletes. It’s really hard not to over train, because for many athletes, their chosen sport is the most important part of their lives.
But when you overtrain, your body’s natural ability to recover from a tough workout is overshadowed by the frequency and intensity of training sessions. This leads to a gradual decline in performance and leads to burnout.
So before you get to that point where you feel like you ‘just can’t, or want to’ train, take the downtime to recover! Overtraining also leads to injuries as your muscles perform at a high level, even though they’re still trying to recover from a previous routine.
A few days off is often enough to regain your excitement and love for training.
We’ve spoken of 7 benefits of taking the time to recover, but there are many more that we simply don’t have the time to talk about in this article.
And there are many practical ways that an athlete can ensure the longevity of their professional careers, from proper stretching to a healthy diet and using foam rollers to relieve muscles of knots and pain.
But the best thing to do is to turn to a natural muscle recovery supplement like CarnoSport to aid your recovery. We can’t overstate the importance of using Carnosport gel pre- and post-workout to help with lactic acid buildup and muscle fatigue and to help reduce recovery time.
Athletes from different fields have testified to the benefits of using this product in conjunction with adequate rest and best practices for the best recovery.