Adequate and appropriate recovery is essential for allowing the body to adapt to training loads, repair its self and prevent injuries. If you are working your body like an athlete, you must also recover like an athlete!
Nutrition – Inadequate energy intake will leave your body unable to replenish energy stores and repair and build tissue to attain your training goals. Proper nutrition helps to maintain blood glucose during exercise, maximise performance and improve recovery time.
Tip: Ensure you have adequate carbohydrate and protein intake in your diet. Immediately after exercise consume high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrate foods.
Hydration – Fluids and electrolytes are lost in sweat during exercise and hot weather. Dehydration causes your body to work less efficiently and recover slower, hindering your performance. A small amount of carbohydrate taken with your fluids has been shown to improve water absorption into the body.
Tip: Drinking 500 ml of fluid within 2 hours before exercise promotes adequate hydration (however, fluid consumption should still be maintained during activity). For activities lasting longer than 1 h, it is recommended to consume carbohydrate and electrolyte rich sports drinks.
Rest – Adequate sleep is important for the body, to repair damaged tissue and allow for training adaptations. Rest also refers to ‘relative rest’, in the form of recovery sessions, where lower intensity exercise is completed. This gives the body a break from high intensity training and reduces your risk of overuse injuries.
Tip: Schedule a recovery session the day after a game or competition and also regularly into the training program.
Body Maintenance – Stretching and massage are an important component of recovery, to improves the length and integrity of muscle tissue as your body adapts to higher training loads. Massage promotes blood flow to muscles and other structures to assist in the repair and building of tissue.
Tip: When you are performing a high training load, ensure you complete regular stretching sessions and schedule regular massages to prevent injury.