Muscle Recovery: Essential to Your Body - p.1
Use stretching to warm up and relax
Don’t Forget About Stretching and Resting
The moment we all want to avoid.
A muscle gives at the gym or in the dance studio, leading to weeks of rehab. Sometimes it’s not even a single moment, but rather, countless hours of overuse that leads a muscle to strain or tear.
To ensure healthy bodies and avoid rehab, we need to be thinking about pre-hab; getting ahead of an injury before it happens.
Muscle recovery should be part of every training plan (specifically post-workout). But there are multiple strategies you can employ that lead to muscle health–even things like diet can impact how your muscles recover. Knowing what to do, and when to do it, can help avoid the injuries that’ll set you back weeks.
Why is Recovery Important?
Resting is an equal part of the total process required to build strength, endurance, and muscle, thereby making it just as important as working out. Without recovery, a significant portion of the exercise you do might be a waste of time. So, what exactly happens during recovery? That’ll depend on the person and activity, but generally, four different things are happening while you’re resting.
Synthesis of protein: This is what leads to muscle growth. According to a report by the Department of Kinesiology at the McCaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, muscle protein synthesis increases by 50% four hours after a workout (like resistance training). In other words, it is during recovery that most muscle is built.
Rebuilding of muscle fibers: Microtears in muscle fibers are a normal part of exercise, happening when we put strain on our muscles. Recovery allows these fibers to heal and become stronger during that process.
Fluid restoration: We sweat (and according to an article in the Journal of applied physiology, we also lose a lot of fluid through exhaled air while we exercise). Hydrating before, during and after a workout is therefore important as these fluids help deliver nutrients to organs and muscles through the bloodstream.
Removal of metabolic waste products: Acids (via that pesky little proton associated with lactate) accumulate during a workout, and recovery gives the body time to restore intramuscular pH and reestablish intramuscular blood flow for oxygen delivery (among other things).
While you’re resting, your muscles kick into overdrive.
Recovery can be approached in several ways–some may be surprising, because they don’t directly target the muscles themselves, and your recovery can be optimised by applying various tools and techniques.
For example, stretching is an excellent way to improve and recover the flexibility of joints and muscles. It helps to relieve tension and improves blood circulation, whilst supporting faster muscle recovery and reducing the risk of injuries. In our Stretching classes at Zhembrovskyy we combine stretching disciplines from ballet, yoga, Pilates and gymnastics, thereby making it a great training in and of itself which can be combined with any of our other classes.
In the next chapter in this series of articles we will discuss some additional avenues of recovery. Until then, we encourage you to book your next Stretching class. No matter if you choose a 30 or 60 minute pass, it will warm up, relax and reinvigorate your body and mind. If you aren’t familiar with our Stretching classes, sign up for a FREE trial today.
For the other chapters in this article series please click the links below.
CHAPTER 2 : Eat and drink your way to a healthy body