Recovery is one of the most important parts of a training or rehabilitation program. Without the proper recovery methods in place, we risk increasing our chances of injury or reinjuring ourselves. So whilst recovery is incredibly important, it is the least researched area. Their are multiple types and forms of recovery which will be explained below
Types of Recovery
Essentially, there are 3 types or categories of recovery
Immediate Recovery: - Occurs while we are exercising (eg. between each repetition or sprint)
Short-Term Recovery: - Longer recovery that occurs between sets (eg. 10 x sprints with 5 minutes recovery)
Training Recovery: - Occurs once training finishes and is the most important
With immediate and short-term recovery, it generally involves fuelling our body with simple sugars to keep our energy levels high. Many times you will see elite marathon runners drinking specific drinks or AFL players at half-time eating lollies/fruit or sports drinks to help keep their energy levels high so they can continue to perform at a high level even towards the end of the game as they become more fatigued.
Our general 'Training Recovery' is the most important. Without proper recovery, we can generally wake up the following day feeling quite sore. So what should we be doing after our training to help with recovery?
As soon as your training finishes, you should complete and active recovery moving whatever body parts you trained through their full range of motion and then perform some stretching. A good rule of thumb is that within the next 30 minutes of exercise you should be eating a recovery meal. This meal should be high in protein with a good mix of fats and carbohydrates as well. If 30 minutes is not possible 60 minutes is also a good time. After this the next most important aspect of recovery is sleep. When we sleep our body is recovering and healing. It is important to make sure that we get the required amount of sleep to give our body time to execute this process.
So what other types of recovery are there that you can incorporate after training? There are a lot of methods of recovery, however, it is best to find what works for you, not everyone will respond to the same forms!
This involves temporarily reducing our muscles temperature which then stimulates vasoconstriction which works to help reduce inflammation and pain! An example of Cryotherapy is an Ice Bath.
Hydrotherapy is thought to work in a similar way to cryotherapy in that in can work to change the temperature of the skin, muscles and core. However, hydrotherapy also can change our heart rate and peripheral blood flow. Studies have shown it has demonstrated lower perceptions of muscle soreness. An example of this is contract water therapy.
This can be through the forms of elastic compression clothing or inflatable devices. It has shown to reduce muscle soreness and perception of fatigue in studies, but slows the removal of metabolic byproducts that come via exercise.
These are just a few basic forms of recovery. There are several others. If you are unsure on which method to choose, it is best to explore everyone and find which one works the best for you.