We are almost 2 months done with 2019 and I want you to ask yourself if you are still on track to reach your fitness goals? If not, why? Is it a lack of motivation, life crisis, or an injury? If it is an injury, let me help you understand how you can prevent them.
First off, let me preface by stating not every injury is preventable, but most of them are. How can we prevent most injuries you ask? Well, you need a good program to follow consistently and you need to be able to recover from this program effectively to reap the most benefits. If you recover faster then you get to train more. If you get to train more, then you are on track to be fitter, healthier and able to reach your goals. If you are constantly beating yourself into the mud by too much exercise or intensity then injury is looming sooner rather than later. Training breaks down muscle tissue and depletes your energy systems. One needs to recover properly so that they are ready for the next training session. A few ways to improve your recovery that are controllable by oneself, is through nutrition, sleep, and body work/maintenance.
Consuming a well balanced diet consisting of real food is the most important because what you intake your body uses as fuel. Quality and quantity is vital with nutrition. You need to intake enough fats, carbohydrates, and proteins to fulfill your macronutrients. Eating leafy green vegetables will help decrease inflammation and provide excellent micronutrients. Eating junk food causes gut inflammation and once there is inflammation in the gut it will be secreting out into your joints, bones, muscles, etc. Inflammation will slow down your recovery, so a diet consisting of real foods is important. Not only is the quality of the food important, but also the quantity. You want to make sure you are eating enough food to match what your body is burning. Not only do you burn calories by exercising, but you also burn calories throughout the day performing active daily living tasks. Protein helps rebuild broken down muscle tissue during strength workouts, carbohydrates helps replace muscle glycogen stores that get utilized during anaerobic exercises, and fats help the entire system run.
Unfortunately, most people are not getting enough sleep. Whether that means we are working too many hours, or too busy utilizing technology before bed. Sleeping allows our CNS (central nervous system) and muscles to recover and recharge for the next day. You are looking to get at least 7-9 hours a night. Sleep deprivation is considered sleeping less than 6 hours a night and not only does it prevent you from recovering, but can lead to serious illness down the road. When you sleep longer than 7 hours you reach your deep cycle of sleeping and this in turn will allow your body to naturally produce a hormone called HGH (human growth hormone). This is a huge factor in helping your body recover and prepare for your next training day.
Body work/maintenance is the last step that you can control to aid in recovery. These are things most people are familiar with such as cooling down, foam rolling, and stretching. These things will allow your nervous system and heart to down regulate to then begin the recovery process. Two other recovery methods that some are not familiar with are tissue work (manual therapy) done by a professional physiotherapist and compression boot devices. Getting worked on by a physio takes the hassle away from doing it yourself. A therapist can directly help accelerate the recovery process by treatments such as Active Release Technique, Graston, Cupping, HyperIce technology, electrical stim etc. Also, another tool one can utilize is the RecoveryPump boots. These boots are systematic compression pants that squeeze your legs like a tube of toothpaste to help recycle the byproduct of exercise. The lymphatic system in the body reuses the byproduct of exercise, like lactic acid, and will re use it as energy to help you with your next training session.
Manual therapy and these compression boots are both offered at Fusion Physical Therapy & Sports Performance located inside Chelsea Piers by the rock wall.
We are here to help you reach your fitness goals and it starts with recovery. So if you have any questions call or email to make an appointment today!
Erik Bonn MS, LAT, PES
Fusion Physical Therapy & Sports Performance