Get your recovery time in

Are you having a harder time recovering from workouts or intense physical activity?

Have you possibly noticed it takes quite a bit longer than it used to?

Looking for “hacks” to recover faster?

Well, there aren’t any. It takes what it takes. But ensuring adequate recovery is not difficult.

As one ages (ahem), our relief from sore, achy muscles doesn’t happen as fast. 

Muscle recovery involves repairing the damage we exert on muscles after the stress of exercise. The muscle fibers break apart, but when repaired they become stronger than they were before. During this process, fluids are restored, and proteins are synthesized to repair the tissues. 

But as we age, these processes slow down. But they don’t stop – we just need more time to recover effectively.

There are a few basic things everyone can do to maximize their recovery time. Here are my top 5:

1. Protein before the workout (20-40g)

2. Protein after the workout (also 20-40g

3. Carbs after the workout (replace the energy I used up)

4. Adequate hydration (add electrolytes for 1+ hour exercise)

5. Sleep. Like a lot. (preferably 7-8 hours)

Out of all these, #5 is the toughest for me. If the Internet would just shut down at 9pm, I’d be fine.

There are supplements and additions that some people like to use with the intention of speeding recovery – including tart cherry juice, cryotherapy/icepacks/cold exposure, and glucosamine. These may help. They may not. Your results may vary.

Nothing beats time for recovery. It’s recommended to allow at least 48 to 72 hours of recovery time before exerting a muscle group again after intense/extensive exercise. This allows enough recovery to make sure your next session yields maximum results.

If you have muscles that are constantly sore, or if you no longer see progress in your fitness level, you may need to add more recovery time. Otherwise, we run the risk of injury. Given the intent of exercise is to make us able to participate in life more fully, injuries are what we need to avoid like the proverbial plague.

And for us older folks, injuries can put us on the sidelines for quite a while.

Stay in the game.

Are you noticing recovery takes longer? What are your tactics for dealing with it?

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Published on October 6, 2021.