Recovery from training and exercise is just as important as actual bouts of training and exercise itself. Training gains are made in the recovery process when muscle repair occur. Properly timed and adequate recovery leads to reduced injury, a better training effect and ultimately better performance. Rest is one of the easiest recovery variables to manipulate but is also probably the most underutilized.
Rest periods are overlooked or sometimes not an option. There are many additional methods to decrease soreness, speed recovery and improve performance. Contrast water therapy (hot/cold), proper nutrition and electrolyte replenishment, foam rolling, and massage, as well as proper sleep cycles all, have their place as recovery tools.
Active recovery is another effective tool well supported in the research. Active recovery exists in a few different forms. Ultimately it’s the muscle lightly contracting after a more strenuous workout, for periods of time, to encourage blood flow that research shows assist blood circulation and aids removal of lactic acid and waste products. It also had positive effects on psychological recovery and relaxation after exercise.
Active recovery can be achieved by simply following a race or strenuous training bouts with lighter activity. This could be as simple as walking or cycling on a spin bike with low resistance. The potential limitation with this type of active recovery is that it is very difficult to find the optimal amount of time/effort to get the best result. Too little and it won’t do anything and too much will leave your body further fatigued and depleted. These pitfalls can be largely avoided by using the high-tech components of recovermōr athletic systems.
Pneumatic compression devices or muscle flushing systems can simulate the physiology associated with active recovery and can avoid some of the difficulties associated with traditional active recovery. Trainers at the Vail Athletic Club use recovermōr athletic recovery systems that incorporate a myriad of recovery technology and devices into a mobile kit. One component in this system is NormaTec pneumatic compression boots. These boots, used in nearly all professional sports teams, massage and compress the legs using a sequential compression to help stimulate blood flow, aid lymphatic drainage and rid the tissue of metabolic waste. This helps decrease soreness associated with heavy training and speeds the recovery process.
Muscle flushing devices like the Marc Pro work to stimulate muscles creating strong but comfortable muscle contractions, ridding the tissue of waste products without creating a fatigue effect. Some research suggests it may create new blood vessel formation to not just improve recovery, but also performance.
Though rest remains the easiest and perhaps the most important variable in recovery, there are many other techniques that can enhance recovery and potentially reduce recovery times. Less recovery time means the more you can train and the better you can perform.
For more information contact Mark Pitcher at the Vail Vitality Center 970-476-7960.
Stop by the GoPro Games near the covered bridge and test out the boots.