Rest and recovery may be just as important as staying physically active. No matter which type of exercise you take part in, from running to strength training and everything in between, muscle cells break down during the process and become stronger when given time to rest and recover. Without this essential recovery time, muscles become fatigued and don’t have the time to heal and grow.
That soreness you feel following intense exercise is due to damaged muscle cells, but with sufficient rest, broken-down muscles will heal and ultimately strengthen. Without rest, your body will be in an imbalanced state of rest and recovery, known as RRI. If this persists for too long, it can cause fatigue and irritability, interrupt sleep patterns and appetite, and increase the risk of infections.
To prevent RRI, stop it before it becomes a bigger problem, and consider these methods for properly healing your muscles:
Quality sleep is essential for recovery, as the body uses this time to repair and rejuvenate tissue, including muscle. While you sleep, the body constructs larger molecules that are used to repair various parts of the body, including the immune, nervous, and muscular systems. While everyone’s individual sleep needs vary depending on age, lifestyle, genetics, and exercise intensity, in general, you should aim for seven to ten hours of sleep.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, shut off all of your electronics an hour before bed, use an eye mask to block out light, wear earplugs to block noise, keep your bedroom cool, and avoid exercising three hours before bedtime.
Earthing, or grounding as its sometimes referred to, has been found to reduce muscle soreness and even enhance recovery, according to a 2010 pilot study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Earthing is a concept based on the belief that there are benefits derived from the relationship between the body and electrons in the earth. Research has found that, because the earth’s surfaces contains a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons, the negative energy can create an internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of body systems.
We can absorb negatively charged ions by walking barefoot on the beach or on the grass, instead of being shielded from it by wearing rubber soled shoes. Another way to derive these benefits is by immersing your body in a hot tub as its metal heater and the water are grounded by an electrical system.
Soaking in a hot tub
In addition to earthing benefits, soaking in a hot tub provides obvious relief to sore muscles and can even be used to soothe the pain of arthritis. The warm water helps to increase blood flow and reduce swelling. This allows the muscles to relax and also improves range of motion, according to HotTubWorks.com. The site offers a variety of exercises that can be performed in the water. The buoyancy of the water makes exercising easier and also helps to decrease the risk of injury.
Nutrition and hydration
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is crucial for muscle recovery. If your urine is clear or pale yellow, you’re hydrated, but if it’s dark or has more color, increase your water intake. Diet is also important. Ideally, you should eat as many whole foods from the earth as possible while avoiding or eliminating processed foods and alcohol.