How to recover after practicing
Most people think that it’s during physical effort that we are gaining physical strength.
Actually, it’s not the case, quite the contrary, physical effort is depleting our physical strength.
It’s during the recovery period, following the physical effort, that the magic happens, and we get stronger. Why is it that way?
The reason is quite simple to understand. Our body function on a simple principle: efficiency. Like water that always take the easiest road, our body priority is to spend the least amount of energy as possible to survive.
To gain physical strength, our body needs to spend energy on multiple things like building more muscle mass, strengthening tendons and bones, increasing mobility, improving breathing capacity, etc.
As it is not essential for survival, our body will not spend energy on that by itself.
However, if we decide to practice physical effort, we are actively depleting our physical strength and energy level.
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This sends an alarm signal to our body, warning it that physical effort is now a necessity for survival.
At this point, the amount of energy our body must spend on gaining physical strength is not irrelevant, as if it gains strength, it will spend less energy on the same physical effort.
Therefore, it’s during the recovery period, that our body makes the investment in gaining physical strength as an anticipation mechanism for spending less energy the next time.
Now, to recover well after practicing sport, we need to allow our body to repair and get stronger during the recovery period ideally.
For that, our body needs 3 major things:
- Healthy Diet
- Muscle Stretching
Resting, especially sleeping, is a fundamental way of increasing our energy level and improving body repair.
For those who play sports in the evening, make sure to keep at least one hour between the end of the sport and falling asleep, otherwise you risk affecting the quality of your sleep and therefore the quality of the recovery.
A healthy diet will bring all the necessary nutrients to your body to produce healthy tissues. Diet is the most powerful tool we have for improving our health.
When practicing sport especially, we lose a lot of minerals and vitamins. During the recovery period, our food needs to cover our basic needs plus all the extra we lost during the effort.
Stretching is complementary to physical exercise. It allows the muscle to regain their full length and range of motion. Lack of stretching will increase risk of injuries and will lower the regeneration capability of the body.
Unlike resting and healthy diet, stretching is not something that happens during the recovery period. On the contrary, it’s not advisable to stretch right after a big physical effort.
Stretching should be done outside of physical effort (at least 6 hours before or after).
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