Feeling like you’ve been through the wringer?? Feeling like you need a good dose of R & R and to fix that weary body?
We often perceive that recovery just means recovering from our workouts , and to do this, we think a few stretches or 5 minutes on the foam roller is all we need to do the trick.
Truth of the matter is, if we think of what a week of our lives entails, it usually involves a fair bit of rushing around, doing household jobs, preparing meals, work, and not to mention exercise. We are probably already in need of a good dose of recovery without adding the extra load of a workout. All this topped off with the likelihood of insufficient sleep, and it’s no wonder we feel like we’ve been through the wringer.
After all, these are all forms of stress on our bodies.
Recovery is so much more than finding time for a few stretches after your workout, and it also is not just meditating, or doing yoga. It isn’t any one particular action that you must do. To recover better you need to enter the ‘rest and digest’ or parasympathetic state more often and use this time to take you out of your stress response. And don’t wait until you desperately need it either before taking action, as this is a sign you’ve already spent way too much time in the ‘fight or flight’ or sympathetic state (opposite to parasympathetic).
HOW you get into a recovery state doesn’t matter, and different things work for everyone. The important thing is finding what works for you and doing more of that. Here’s some ideas that can be considered as recovery:
Walking – go venture into nature. This is a guaranteed way to de-stress. Have you ever felt WORSE after getting outside??
Breathing – this might sound a bit ‘cushy’, or ‘weird’, but breathing is a tool that has a great influence on your recovery, as well as performance. Focus on the exhale and breath holds. Breathing can be done after a workout, in times of overwhelm, or literally whenever you have a few spare minutes.
Foam Rolling / Stretching – Foam rolling helps lymphatic drainage, while stretching feels great and both of these strategies help to cool down the body after a workout and get yourself into a relaxed state.
Plan ‘unplugged’ time. This sounds obvious, but how often do we actually follow through?? Do something else like read a book, listen to music or meditate. Lose yourself in ‘Flow State’ Activities – Go and do whatever gets you into a state of flow – think about those things where you completely lose track of time. This could be reading, craft, a hobby, cooking or listening to music.
Just Chill – whether it’s taking a nap if you need it , vegging out in front of Netflix or sitting outside soaking up a few rays, if your mind and body needs a rest don’t feel guilty about doing this.
Recovery is so much more that cooling down properly. Don’t dismiss those other vital lifestyle factors that also affect your recovery too such as getting adequate sleep, fuelling your body with sound nutrition , and keeping your water intake up.
The more time you can spend in a parasympathetic state, and the quicker you get there following a workout and other times of stress, the better you will recover and the greater level of stress resilience you will build.