You’ve heard it before and you’re about to hear it again:
Make time for rest days! Allow your body to recover! Come back stronger on the other side!
All joking aside, there are many elements of rest and recovery that make a massive difference in your overall performance. Throughout training, your body undergoes a significant amount of stress, breaking down your tissue. Rest days allows for proper recovery which in turn helps to prevent long term injury.
The good news is that this stress and tissue damage is minimal, and can be rebuilt and recovered through solid rest day plans. This stress and rebuild cycle is what ultimately creates long term strength and stamina!
Consider these 5 rest-day pro tips for your upcoming recovery days. Make the most of your recovery and be sure to share your rest success with the world. #restdaybrags
#1: Roll out
Oh, the joys of foam rolling! We know, we know…it hurts SO GOOD, but a good roller is truly your fascia’s best friend. Fascia is the thin sheath layer of tissue that encloses your muscles. As you might imagine, when your muscles undergo stress, so does your fascia. Releasing tension in your fascia (through foam rolling) has a number of physiological benefits for your body including: increased flexibility and range of motion, increased circulation to your muscles and facilitate myofascial release. So, get your roll on!
#2: Stretch & Balance
The constant and repetitive impact of training (especially running) can take a toll on your joints and connective tissue. Connective tissue binds your muscle to bone, and generally takes a big hit through high intensity training. Taking some time to stretch out, and focus on your balance during your recovery day will increase circulation to your connective tissue and reinforce the strength needed for long term injury prevention.
#3. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s response to injury. Although you wouldn’t consider yourself injured after a week of training, your internal systems are reacting to the physical stress and micro-level damage. Your body responds with a release of white blood cells (meant to protect the body), which in some cases, results in swelling/inflammation.
Our bodies naturally want to recover quickly from states of inflammation. Certain foods can aid in the recovery process (such as turmeric and ginger). Make sure to consider your meal options during your next rest day and optimize the anti-inflammatory components of your meal!
#4. Fuel Properly
In addition to including anti-inflammatory ingredients in your diet, it’s important to pay attention to feeding your body well-rounded, nutrient dense meals. Considering the rebuild that needs to take place on a muscular level, paying attention to a full protein profile intake is key. Meat & fish based meals are great for protein-heavy recovery. For our plant-based athletes, you can lean on beans, quinoa, nuts, lentils and chia seeds for solid protein sources!
#5. Increase Circulation
Getting healthy blood flow back to strained parts of your body will ensure success in retaining strength and speed the following week. As mentioned, a regular foam rolling regimen can activate blood flow to particular parts of your body. Your choice of food can also aid in increased circulation. Garlic, cayenne pepper and dark chocolate are great foods to include in your diet on a recovery day. Compression socks and body brushing are also reliable ways to stimulate blood flow to key areas of your body during rest days!
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