Rest & Recovery – Part 3 – Muscle recovery…

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I’ve talked about how important recovery is for injury and trauma and have stressed how dormant rest can have a negative response to our mental and physical wellbeing.  In this blog we take a look at why we need to incorporate rest and recovery into our training and sport.

UnknownWhen we train for a particular event, whether it’s a one off running event, a rowing competition, or the start of the sporting season, we need to understand the strains that we put on our bodies. 

When we train, high levels of microscopic muscle damage occur. When muscle fibres are damaged they become tender, sore and stiff. This damage is commonly referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as our muscle fibres need to go through this process in order to develop. However, if we don’t implement a recovery plan into our training and just train hard over this damage then there is a risk of injury or over-compensation by other parts of our body.

For example, shin splints are a common complication that can develop from continuously running on tight and over-used muscles. Niggling knees could be telling you that you need to address the tightness of your Illiotibial bands… I could go on.  The point I’m trying to make is that if we don’t address ‘rest and recovery’ then we are likely to cause injury.

Remember though…rest and recovery from training is not sitting still.

So what is recovery?

shutterstock_52109449.muscle man anatomy runningIn simple terms, it is the time required for the repair of damage to the body. This includes the restoration of the energy producing enzymes inside the muscle fibres, the carbohydrate stores in the muscle cells and immune system.  During recovery, muscles should increase the proteins in their overall structure to improve strength, replenish and increase energy stores and the quantity of enzymes.

Your nutrition and hydration is a vital ingredient to your recovery process, and is a huge subject in its own right, but it’s not that complicated when you start to understand the basics. I would recommend addressing your nutrition to aid muscle recovery.

Flexibility and muscle release is another aspect of our recovery plan that is often under-addressed.  Many of us just want to ‘get on’ with the hard work and get the miles in, so we neglect the TLC of our muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Massage, stretching, myofascial release, ice baths and light yoga are good for muscle recovery and so aid in the repair of fibres and connective tissues. Again, look at what works for you and include it in your training plan.

We can get very engrossed in our training, it takes a huge amount of focus to train for an event or competition and, for some, it takes over our lives, so planning in social recovery is just as important as the training itself.  Taking that ‘rest’ time gives our minds the ability to refocus and creates a healthy distraction.

Finally, don’t forget to include your active recovery. Do something that your body enjoys and gets a positive response from. 

Please get in touch for further assistance. www.intouchstudios.co.uk

Rest & Recovery, Part 2 – More is less…

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So, rest and recovery from an injury or trauma is one thing but what if you spend most of your day being inactive like sitting at a desk or driving for work? In my opinion, rest becomes a different subject and can, if you don’t find the right rest, be an inhibitor.

You find yourself feeling tired after a long day in the office. Your mind has been intensely active for a long period of time. You finish a long day and all you want to do is get home and flop in front of some mindless tv.  This, in my opinion, isn’t quality rest.

Like I said in my previous blog, our bodies respond to movement.  As humans, we were designed to move and so, when we do, great things happen to our bodies and to our minds.

imagesIn my job, I see large numbers of people trying to fight the effects of inactivity and lethargy.  We are a nation of people working in order to live and so some of us have no option but to sit and work at a computer or stand on our feet for hours at a time without a substantial break. This, combined with the ridiculous health and safety rules put upon us and a major misunderstanding of body posture, creates various challenges for our bodies in the workplace.  However, we must not use this as an excuse – though, believe me, we do! 

There are many reasons why we feel so tired and achy after a long period of inactivity or mental stress; here’s a few physiological reasons that may help you understand why:

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Rest & Recovery, Part 1 – The need to rest…

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I was recently forced into lying on my back for a few days due to a little operation and this got me thinking about what rest and recovery is and the importance and differences between them. So, over this three part blog, I‘m going to write about those differences and the impact of rest and recovery on our bodies.

Time for an English lesson…the dictionary definition of rest is “to cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep or recover strength” and recovery is “a return to a normal state of health, mind and strength”. Now, I’m not usually one to sit still for too long. Don’t get me wrong; I can (and like to) relax but in ways that feed my body and don’t do it any harm. Rest, for me, is not about ceasing movement by lying flat on my back and I think the definition needs re-writing! So, how did I cope on this occasion?

anesthesia14

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New Years Resolutions

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New Year, New start, New goals…. Why?

new years resolutionsAs we approach 1st January 2014 I’m sure many of you will be thinking about new year’s resolutions.

“This is the year I will lose weight.” “This will be the year I save money!” “I’ll try to spend more time with my kids”… Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?

I have fallen victim to a new year’s resolution or two in the past and then, when I didn’t see them through, felt very disappointed and a failure to myself, which resulted in letting everything else go because there seemed no point. My view on resolutions has changed over the years. I don’t make them anymore.

Yes, this is a new year but it’s also a new day.

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Motivation – A little prod…

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Unknown

At this time of year it’s always difficult to maintain a healthy motivation.. but, hey, let’s not get all English and speak negatively about the weather, we knew it was coming, we know where we live. We just have to get on and deal with it, use it for what it’s worth.

Believe it or not, this is the perfect time to get stuck in and achieve a good baseline for your goals.  Our body responds well to consistency and if you work hard now, you can reap the rewards come spring when you want to get out there and use the fitness you have gained, the weight loss you have achieved, or the strength for your sport.

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Fat or Sugar?

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“Eat butter and cheese not low-fat spreads, says heart specialist”

You may have seen on the news this morning the cardiologist that has spoken out about saturated fats.  Please read this article all the way through.  Its easy to selectively hear what you want to hear. Just listening to the headlines will not give you the understanding.

I too believe that sugar and trans-fat are the cause to the ever rising obesity epidemic, and we should always opt for full fat ‘natural’ products, however, i do not want to encourage you to eat a block of cheese or butter a day.  With moderation and balance obviously.  You also need to remember that a lot of cheese you get from the supermarket are processed.

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Post holiday fitness goals

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Summer holidays

I hope you have had a lovely summer holiday, whatever you got up to.

I had a wonderfully fun and restful break in Mallorca. There were tons of opportunities to keep active and soak up some well needed vitamin D – snorkelling, swimming and cycling to name a few!

Unfortunately, everything has to come to an end and the time to get back to work and school is upon us. Let’s embrace the good weather, the R&R and adventures and maintain this positive attitude and carry it forward from hereon. Remember that the body responds better to exercise when you have that positive mindset.

Get yourself back into your fitness routine by setting yourself a realistic goal for the next 3 months and sticking to it. Having a goal will give you the reason and the focus to reconnect with your training. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking..

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Early morning exercise

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early-morning-workout

Early morning exercise gives you a whole new way to wake up and kick-start your day in the best possible way.

Here’s some top tips for getting the most out of your session.

Fat burning benefits 

Training early in the morning is a great way to burn fat. Yes it is. Think about it. We worry, first thing, that we aren’t going to have enough energy to train on an empty stomach. But, guess where you have loads of lovely energy, all stored up, ready and waiting to be used? Read More

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