When you’re motivated to exercise, it can be tempting to push your body to its limit. In fact, exercising for weight-loss is often portrayed this way. Many people think that success depends on high exertion almost every single day, because no pain, no gain…right?
Wrong! Recovery is actually a crucial component of your health journey — and without it, you risk serious physical consequences. Although the idea of watching your body transform through fitness can seem inspiring, it’s important to give your body the care and rest it needs.
Why Recovery is Important
During exercise, your muscles work hard to help you move and achieve new things — so physical activity has the potential to be very strenuous on your body.
Have you ever experienced soreness during or after a grueling workout? Exercise, from running and climbing to lifting weights, will often damage muscle fibers. If you continue to exert pressure on your body to perform at this level or higher, your muscles don’t have a chance to recover and grow bigger or stronger. But with proper rest and recovery, they can.
A healthy recovery period can also help you re-energize before each new workout and focus on your goals with greater clarity. Just like with any other activity, a mental break can improve concentration and boost performance. Think about the recovery potential of naps!
Allowing for Recovery
To give your body the proper recovery period it needs, consider this:
Allow Time to Pass
Give your body 24-72 hours to rest before embarking on a workout with the same level of difficulty. This time range reflects different factors such as age, weight, fitness level and mobility.
Drink a lot of Water
Proper fluid intake during and after a workout helps replenish water, minerals, vitamins and electrolytes lost through exercise. Keep a portable bottle with you at all times.
A balanced diet complete with lots of protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains will restore your body and give your muscles the nutrients they need to rebuild and grow.
Mind Your Body
Pay attention to the way your body feels during and after your workouts, and adjust your exercise routine accordingly. Is the pain or difficulty too hard to handle? You may be overdoing it.
Work different muscle groups on different days to give each group time to recover. You might even consider low-impact exercises in between workouts such as biking, swimming or yoga.
Recovery helps your body transform into the healthy and powerful support system it’s meant to be, so remember to care for it properly on your weight management journey!