The Importance of Recovery after Working out
We are always lectured on the importance of staying active and exercising regularly to get fit and stay healthy. Many of us dive into an exercise regime headfirst without considering the toll it can take on our bodies. A lot of people follow the mantra, ‘No Pain, No Gain,’ and because of this, they fall victims to injury when working out. People rarely talk about the significance of investing in recovery after exercise. It’s true that you have to push your body hard to become fitter and stronger, but giving it some time to rest is just as important, if not more, as the exercise itself. If you’re a fitness fanatic, an avid gym-goer, or someone who’s vaguely interested in working out, this article will help you better understand why recovery is just as important, if not more important than exercise.
Why Your Body Needs Exercise Recovery
Your body goes through various changes during all kinds of workouts, especially the hard ones that lead to high levels of stress in the body. The muscle exhaustion causes damage to the muscle cells on a microscopic level. It also affects your hormones and enzymes, causing them to fluctuate, which may increase inflammation. Undoubtedly, these changes can bring positive and desirable changes in your body, like fat loss, muscle gain, healthier organs, improved immune system, and higher energy levels. But your body needs time for these good changes to occur and reap the maximum benefits from every workout session before you start stressing it out again. Regular breaks allow the body to repair and recover to avoid burnout and overtraining. Hence, more isn’t always better. It is important to note that the most important elements to a healthy workout and diet regime is nutrition, exercise & sleep. A successful body or workout regime isn’t complete without these things.
How is Exercise Recovery Beneficial for the Body?
Following are a few of the benefits of taking regular rest days:
- Replenishes Energy
The energy or fuel needed by the body to run properly comes from a molecule, known as adenosine triphosphate or ATP. The body produces ATP through the glycolytic system or phosphagen system during intense exercise. The production of this molecule depends on the duration and intensity of the workouts. Tough exercises can speed up the burning of these fuel sources. If you don’t allow your body to renew these depleted fuel stores before your next workout session, your performance will decline, and your muscles will get fatigued much sooner. With a well-rested and energized body, you’ll have the stamina to give it your all during your next exercise session.
- Repairs Muscle Damage
Intense exercise or overtraining can damage the muscles, leading to soreness, muscle strain, inflammation, and micro-tears in muscle tissues. Though this is completely normal and helps in muscle growth, if you don’t give your muscles enough time to recoup, they won’t be able to generate the energy required for workouts. During the post-workout recovery, the cells called fibroblasts repair the muscles, helping them to heal and grow faster. Consequently, your muscles will grow stronger, and the chances of injury will also reduce significantly.
- Clears Out Metabolic Byproducts
With an increase in the synthesis of ATP in the body, the buildup of metabolic byproducts also increases. The high amount of these byproducts in the body inhibits the production of ATP and hinders muscle contraction. Tough workouts can cause accumulation of metabolic byproducts in the muscles, such as lactate, which is responsible for fatigue. A reduction in the level of lactate in the blood and muscle tissues is considered to be an indicator of post-exercise recovery. Studies suggest that an active recovery leads to faster removal of lactate from the blood as compared to passive recovery.
No matter what your exercise routine is, it’s crucial to take some recovery time and allow your body to heal and revitalize. Spending additional time focusing on rest can increase your output, lower the risk of injury, and decrease overall unneccessary recovery time. It will play a significant role in improving your overall performance and offer benefits beyond your training time.