Good recovery is just as important as consistent exercise and eating well in order to feel great. Here are 10 things you can do to recover well from normal wear and tear, fatigue, and injury.
1. SleepProbably the most important thing you can do for your body is to get consistent, high-quality sleep.
Benjamin Franklin is attributed for the quote “Early to bed and early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.” He was definitely right about the first one. Who knows, he might be right about the other two as well!
Sleep is critical for a wide range of normal body functions. If you're doing strength training to build muscle, your body will release muscle building amino acids at an accelerated rate during sleep. Good sleep also helps you make better food choices. This can help if weight loss is your goal.
Keep it simple: Go to bed at a time that allows you to feel ready to wake up at sunrise. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep. That means going to bed 7-9 hours before sunrise.
2. Massage/Foam rollerMassage helps heal muscles faster. Massage can also help improve mobility and prevent injury. However, not all of us can afford to get regular massages, so foam rolling can be a decent alternative. It may take a few tries to get comfortable with it. But once you get some practice, a quick foam roll before and after exercise can help your muscles perform better and recover faster.
3. Reduce InflammationInflammation can be acute or chronic. The acute kind is critical to repairing damage and fighting infections. The chronic kind is the one that is concerning.
Modern life is full of things that cause chronic inflammation in our bodies. But there are some simple things you can do to reduce inflammation:
- Practicing intermittent fasting
- Eating lots of anti-inflammatory foods
- Take vitamin D3 and K2
- Sleep well
- Reduce stress
4. Drink waterWater flushes toxins out of the body and transports nutrients into the cells.
Muscle rebuilding after exercise can suffer without enough water in the body.
Your heart has to work harder to pump blood to all parts of the body if you have low blood volume. Having enough water in the body makes sure you have the right volume of blood.
This helps reduce fatigue.
5. NutritionGood nutrition can be simple. Intermittent fasting and a Golden keto food plan can have a profound impact on how you feel.
Getting enough of the right nutrients goes a long way in helping you feel great and do more.
6. Reduce Stress
When you are under stress, your body deprioritizes recovery. Stress also has a negative impact on your sleep, which we know is probably the most important thing for taking care of yourself.
To reduce stress, the first step is to become mindful of situations, people, habits, and information that triggers a stress response. Then take steps to reduce these stressors. See if you can avoid them altogether. Easier said than done, but at least start by identifying stressors.
You can consciously seek out the right actions to take to reduce stressors, but you can also engage your subconscious to help out. To do this, start everyday by telling yourself that you are free of stress, that you are resilient and calm. Repeat this periodically throughout the day. Most importantly, say it out loud before you go to sleep at night. The subconscious can be a powerful tool.
7. MeditateMeditation helps you become more mindful.
Mindfulness helps reduce stress.
Meditation can also improve focus, attention span, and memory.
Meditation is akin to exercise for your mind. Start with a short, simple and regular practice. The main idea is to sit still, breathe slowly, and just let your thoughts come and go without engaging them too much.
Mornings are a good time for meditation. A great thing about meditation is that it is accessible pretty much anytime, anywhere.
Rest is overrated! Ok let me explain.
Of course, rest is critical to the recovery process. But to recover well from injury or fatigue, movement is important. Unless it’s structural damage, like a fracture, or injury to the spinal cord, getting some movement in the affected part of the body helps with a quicker and more complete recovery.
Movement improves blood flow which drives oxygen into the muscles.
This stimulates healing. Movement also improves the flow of lymphatic fluid in the body. This improves the removal of waste from your cells.
The lymphatic system also transports white blood cells throughout the body. White blood cells fight infections. The lymphatic system does not have an automatic pump like the heart. So maintaining fluid transport in the lymph vessels requires activity and movement.
9. Heat, not iceUsing ice to reduce swelling and inflammation is actually counterproductive.
The body produces an inflammatory response to heal damaged tissues.
Icing slows down this process and delays, or worse, weakens the healing of injured tissues.
Ice is ok for its analgesic, or pain reducing, effect.
So if the pain is extreme, using ice for up to 5 minutes is probably fine.
For faster and complete healing, once the pain subsides, apply heat to the injured area.
This will improve blood flow and lymphatic flow, which in turn helps remove inflammation when its repair job is done. This prevents acute inflammation from becoming chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is necessary. Chronic inflammation can be harmful.
10. StrengtheningBuilding strength in your muscles, joints, and connective tissues can help prevent injury in the first place. Incorporate strengthening by using resistance, free weights, or even just body weight exercises.
Strength training can also play an important role in a complete recovery from injury. Right after injury when your body is repairing the damage, do easy, light movements.
As you start getting more range of motion, gently start strengthening the surrounding muscles. For example, if you injured your ankle, do calf strengthening exercises.
As you strengthen the muscles around your injury, you give it a better chance of healing completely.
Being mindful and intentional about caring for your body is just as important as pushing it hard during exercise, and eating well.
We looked at 10 simple recovery methods that can help us feel better and perform better. Use them!
Next, learn about Antifragility and how you can grow stronger from hardships