Simple Recovery Strategies for Everyone
I’ve been thinking about recovery strategies a bit lately. It’s something we often neglect (I’m guilty as the next person) as we’re rushing from here to there, to get in the early morning workout, then the kids ready for school, then off to work, then errands, then whatever else we have for the day. We focus on the specific details of our training and our intervals rather than how we are going to recover from said intervals after the fact. But if performance at any level is your goal, meaning you want to give the best performance that you can and stay as healthy as possible, you have to make time for recovery.
#1. Prioritize sleep. If you are going to try anything on this list, do this. Are you watching TV, scrolling through facebook, or doing something otherwise not critical before bed? If so, unplug, unwind, and get to bed early. Even if you’re not an endurance athlete, get your sleep! Here are some sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation.
#2. Be Mindful of Nutrition. I’m not talking about counting calories, but rather simply eat your fruits and veggies. Choose real, whole foods over processed. After a hard workout, have a recovery snack ready to go. If you are having a hard time figuring out where you might need to make changes, track what you eat for a week or so on an app like MyFitnessPal.com. A little tedious at first, but it can be eye opening. Eat the donut, but also eat the dark leafy greens. Fuel the machine with quality.
#3. Build recovery into your workout time. This might be hard, because if we have an hour to run over lunch, we want to run for that hour. But then we get back to our desk and can tighten up. So run for 50 minutes and then stretch for 10. Your body will thank you.
#4. Take a restorative yoga class. If anything, this will force you to slow down for 60-90 minutes each week. Put it on your recovery day, or an easy day of training. It does a mind and body good. Don’t want to get to a yoga studio, search YouTube or check out YogaVibes.com. I know it’s “one more thing” but in our fast-paced world, a little slow time is a good thing.
#5. Foam roll regularly. Or at least get regular massages. When I foam roll and stretch regularly (often just right before bed), I sleep better and my body feels better. 10-15 minutes on a regular basis to work out any kinks can be all you need.
#6. Take time to appreciate what you can do. Take five minutes each morning while you have coffee instead of checking social media, or the five minutes before you start your pre-sleep routine, write down what you are grateful for that day or week. This might not be a training recovery strategy, but it’ll put you in a more positive mindset, which goes a long way in terms of general health. Here are some tips on keeping a gratitude journal.
You don’t even have to be an endurance athlete to apply the above tips for general “life” recovery and to feel better. Recovery isn’t a side thought, something to squeeze in, but rather an important part of everyday healthy living for everyone.