We all need a day off from our regular routine or our workout schedules. Even David Goggins takes a day off to rest and recover. If Goggins can take a day off, we can all afford to take one too.
What should you do with your recovery day to make sure you are getting the most from it? Is a recovery day just sitting around doing nothing or should you have a plan?
I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think you should have a plan so let’s take a look at some of the things that can help you make the most of your recovery days.
Making the Most of Your Recovery Days
Get Good Sleep
Sleep is essential for proper recovery. When we sleep, our bodies have time to repair muscles, heal injuries, reduce stress levels, and restore energy. Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night is one of the best things you can do for your body during recovery days. If possible, try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule that allows for plenty of restful slumber.
Aside from helping with recovery, getting good sleep can help prevent many health problems. A recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed just how bad losing sleep can be for a person. Their study concluded, “The cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.”
The tl/dr of this? Get good sleep.
Eat Clean & Healthy Foods
It’s important to eat healthy foods on your recovery day in order to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs. Focusing on eating clean meals made up of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables will help keep you energized while giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs during recovery. Avoid processed foods that are loaded with sugar, fat, and salt as these will only weigh down your system instead of helping it recover quickly.
Eating perfectly clean is not something most of us can manage long-term so remember to do things in moderation. If you are trying to lose weight, diet has more impact on your weight loss than exercise does (Is Diet or Exercise More Important for Your Health?)(healthline.com) so remember not to derail yourself and your hard work by having a lapse for a day. Perfection isn’t the goal so indulge in moderation and stay on track for your goals.
Stretch And Foam Roll
Stretching helps release tension in tight muscles while foam rolling can help reduce lactic acid build up from intense exercise. Take some time on your recovery day to do dynamic stretches before working out again – this will increase blood flow to muscles that were worked during training sessions prior to recovery day, improving mobility and reducing soreness later on in your workouts. Additionally, using foam rollers or massagers can help break down scar tissue that builds up over time due to repetitive motions like running or lifting weights.
If you have questions about a stretching routine or how to use foam rollers or massage guns, talk to me (email@example.com) or any of our expert trainers. We can help you with a stretching and recovery routine that helps your body recover and gets you even more ready for your next class.
You don’t, and shouldn’t, have to be completely sedentary on a recovery day. In fact, doing some low-intensity activity can actually help speed up the healing process. Take a leisurely walk around the block or go for a bike ride at an easy pace. This type of activity will help keep your blood circulating while still allowing your body enough time to repair itself. The goal is to keep yourself mildly active and get blood flow and movement to sore or tight muscles aiding in their recovery.
If you’re stuck coming up with ideas for what to do for active rest on your recovery day, Healthline.com has some suggestions for how to exercise with active rest.
It might seem simple but staying hydrated is essential when recovering from any type of exhaustion or stress. Make sure that throughout the course of the day (and beyond) you are drinking plenty of water – at least eight glasses per day! Water helps flush out toxins from the body and helps keep everything running smoothly so make sure that staying hydrated is one of your top priorities when recovering from any sort of fatigue.
If you don’t believe me, listen to the folks at Harvard. They studied the benefits of staying hydrated and they tell us, hydration = good.
The folks at Harvard found this when studying the benefits of hydration –
Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
Sounds like drinking enough water daily is a pretty good thing so even if you’re not on a recovery day, drink water.
Those are some tips for you to make the most of your recovery days. It’s important to remember to take time to recover. It’s good not only for your physical health, but your mental health as well. We’re in the new year and everyone, or most everyone, is probably working on a new habit or routine. Be kind to yourself and remember to take a day off here and there.