Mistakes That Could Slow Down Your Workout Recovery

Recovery after an intense workout is vital in building muscles. That’s why many bodybuilders use supplements for men and proper diet. Many tips are also introduced but some of them are not effective and others are even harmful for the body.

Inflammation is not Bad

I’d always known that there was bad inflammation— something to tamp down or, better still, avoid. But the new report turned the notion on its head. A scientific review published in 2013 found that reducing inflammation could in fact impede recovery. That’s because inflammation is a big contributor to the impact of exercise. You create microscopic damage to your muscles when you do a hard exercise. The inflammatory response is the first step towards restoring the damage and reinforcing the muscles to get stronger next time.

Reduce inflammation, for example, with an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen, and you might actually blunt some of the gains you would get from that workout. Studies suggest drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen may interfere with tissue repair and slow bone, ligament, muscle and tendon healing.

Ice baths are another standby treatment expected to suppress inflammation. In fact, a cold dip doesn’t actually stop inflammation, but it can delay it, which is why some experts now suggest that athletes avoid ice baths during heavy training phases when the goal is to optimize gains.

Stay Hydrated

Almost since the dawn of advising sports drinks, we’ve been bombarded with messages about drinking. According to this one-time standard advice, it is too late by the time you’re thirsty. Many companies also sell products using mathematical formulas and special instruments to predict or quantify how much you sweat so that every drop of water you sweat can be sure of recovering. What all these goods and messages means that the body works in a delicate fluid-management environment that can easily tip off balance. The hydration idea sells plenty of bottled water and sports drinks but it misrepresents how our bodies interact with fluids.

In fact, what matters when it comes to hydration is not how much sweat you produce, or the color of the urine that you pee. Alternatively, the concentration of salts and other solubles in your blood is what is most critical for success and wellbeing.

Never Overdrink

The body is well-adapted to losing fluid during exercise by sweat, and some scientists have suggested that a bit of “adaptive dehydration” may be even better for success. For example, legendary Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie is said to have lost as much as 10 percent of his body mass due to dehydration while setting his 2008 world marathon record. Although often marketed as a major factor in heat stroke, studies suggest that the greatest factor in this disease is exertion (and, well, heat)—hydration only plays a minor role.

A research analyzing 20 years of heat stroke results during military training found that dehydration was associated with them in just 20 percent of cases.

On the other hand, drinking too much can lead to hyponatremia, or “water poisoning,” a potentially fatal disorder that occurs when the blood gets dangerously diluted. There has never been a documented case of someone dying of dehydration during a marathon but at least five runners have died of hyponatremia they developed during a race, and the condition has also felled football players.

Don’t Add Stress To Your Body

When I was a serious driver, I usually took off from training one day per week. So nice so far. But what I have not always got right is what I would do on those days off. Instead of putting my feet up and my nose in a book, I would rush around doing exhausting errands or cramming to meet a deadline that I would have put off. It should seem clear, but when you’re still under stress, you can’t recover optimally and both physical and emotional stress are equally taxing to our bodies. A good recovery strategy takes into account all kinds of stress.

Says that one of the most common mistakes athletes make is to reduce the stress placed on their bodies by their jobs and busy lives. You don’t just have to take a break from training to fully recover, you have to find ways to reduce those other stressors too, she says. And that’s why some of the most efficient methods of healing discovered through research were not things that stimulated my muscles— those were things that relaxed my mind.Out of the nearly endless range of tools I tried, my favorite was floatation, or what I came to think of as “forced meditation.” An hour spent lying in a float tank — a dark, quiet chamber filled with a few inches of salt water that allowed my body to float without weight— recharged me like nothing else.

I came away with a deeper appreciation for the power of recovery to boost athletic performance but also quality of life after having immersed myself in rehabilitation for a year. Mastering recovery helped me get more out of my workouts, and it also brought more comfort to my days. And this is a win – win.