In order to give your body the best chance to perform and strengthen, it’s vital to take the time for both active and restful recoveries post workout, said Hillsboro physical therapist Laura Perry.
And yet, she added, many people aren’t taking rest and recovery seriously enough when considering their overall workout regimen.
“What most experts agree about is that the majority of us are not recovering enough,” said Perry. “Some experts say you need to recover twice as hard as your hardest workout. Speaking from experience, we’re not sleeping enough, resting enough, nor hydrating enough.”
It’s essential that one allows the body to recover after activity by allowing it time to repair and replenish, Perry says. This provides the body time to respond to the stresses applied to it, allowing it to adjust and prepare for the next round of exercise.
In a nutshell, the recovery phase enables the body to get stronger and faster, ensuring progress toward enhanced competition and improved health and performance.
“Through recovery, our bodies are getting more efficient,” Perry said. “The body will adapt to all of the stresses and loads we put on it when we train and exercise, and what was hard five or six months ago eventually gets much easier.”
Active vs. Resting Recovery
There are two types of recovery, according to Perry: active recovery and resting recovery.
Resting recovery is exactly how it sounds. After an all-out effort, such as competition in a big endurance race (i.e., a marathon or a long bike ride), an athlete may opt to take some well-deserved time off to relax the body by, say, laying around the pool for a few days.
Active recovery, on the other hand, involves participating in workouts or an activity, but at a lesser intensity. According to Perry, active recovery between workout sessions is the most effective path as it can speed up healing in the body.
She adds that during active recovery, it’s important one listens closely to her/his body so not to “overdo recovery,” which could lead to injury. Some apps exist that help guide one through proper recovery based on specific workouts and workout intensities.
Physical Therapy Can Help
The best way to determine personalized recovery regimens that align with your specific fitness levels and performance goals, however, is to work with a physical therapist. A physical therapist is specifically trained to help one strengthen the body, move more efficiently, and improve rest and recovery.
“Physical therapists can help with eliminating restrictions and barriers such as poor flexibility, muscular imbalances and detecting weakness,” Perry said. “A PT also teaches techniques to recover optimally.”
The path of recovery can be multifaceted and complex, Perry said, and it’s different for every athlete. If you’re serious about training, it is critical to find a physical therapist, coach or trainer who is familiar with you, your goals and your sport.
For more information regarding how physical therapy can help you reach your performance goals, including making the most of the recovery process, call the Impact Physical Therapy of Hillsboro team at 503-615-5969.