Rest and recovery? Really? Yes! When it comes to exercise, some people mistakenly believe that more = better. People feel guilty if they take a day off. But our bodies actually need this time as much as they need the physical activity-- it’s during our rest and recovery days that the body repairs and strengthens itself. All the work you do in your Pilates session is great and necessary, but the benefits from that session are realized by your muscles after the session is over. How is this?
Remember that exercise creates stress on the body, specifically mechanical stress and metabolic stress. Metabolic stress comes from depleting the energy stored in individual muscle cells, while mechanical stress is created by the physical damage to the structures of the muscle proteins. While the body experiences stress during exercise, it’s during the recovery period after exercise that your body repairs muscle cells and replaces the glycogen you used during the workout.
There are two different categories of recovery: short term and long term. Short term recovery occurs in the hours and days immediately following intense exercise, and is the time when our bodies remove chemicals that build up as a result of exercise, and when our soft tissues (tendons, ligaments, muscles) repair.
Ways you can engage in short term recovery:
- Incorporate a cool down period of 5-10 minutes into your workouts
- Replenish your energy stores and fluid loss by eating the right post-exercise foods. This means a well-balanced meal of lean protein and healthy carbohydrates within one hour of exercising
- Incorporate post-exercise massage into your routine. To spoil yourself and help soothe your muscles, I absolutely love using Young Living’s Cool Azul Sports Gel along with the Deep Relief Roll-On. Cool Azul is formulated with a full 10% of pure essential oils to soothe and cool the skin, including Peppermint, Plectranthus Oregano, and Dorado Azul. It’s aloe vera based rather than water based like most other sports massage gels, which means it not only massages into skin better, it hydrates as well! The Deep Relief Roll On is perfect for an on-the-spot massage. Apply its blend of 9 essential oils to muscles and sore joints for a refreshing, cooling sensation and invigorating scent that will inspire greater feelings of energy and positivity to help you stay motivated.
Long term recovery involves planning different intensity levels of workouts into your week. For example, two days of high intensity exercise, two days of moderate intensity exercise, two days of low intensity exercise, and one rest day. The best way to plan out this type of routine at The Pilates Center is through private sessions. This way, we can structure your session to specifically meet the intensity level you’re looking for, and stick to the schedule you’ve developed for yourself.
I am so excited to see what 2020 brings us all!