After our Spartan Race this weekend my body is SORE. My back is tight, my hamstrings are achy and my upper body is pretty much immobile.
Imagine what would happen if I decided to take a few days off to let my body recover?
Many assume taking days off is the best option, rest and recovery is obviously much needed, right?
Yes, rest and recovery is much needed, but rest and recover doesn't mean ignore your body all together.
If I went back to sitting at my desk for hours at a time during the day and then crawled into bed for 8 hours the next couple of nights, my body isn't getting any form of motion.
If I don't move my body and stretch out my muscles, they will likely tighten even more and be sore for a longer duration of time. My range of motion will decrease and I'll likely get injured when I start my normal routine again.
Not only that, but I'm prone to lower back, hip and knee pain and I can feel when I've ignored the 'rest and recovery' aspect of fitness.
My Rest and Recovery routine depends on how my body is feeling.. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Yesterday, the day after race day, I did 40 minutes of yoga and stretching and walked my dogs. I got in stretching and 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. So even on my rest and recovery day I still maintained the minimum recommendation of exercise.
Today I was feeling up for leg day but my upper body is still shot. I did lower fix today followed by more stretching and foam rolling! If you are sore from yesterday's workout, do an exercise that targets a different group of muscles. It doesn't benefit you to take the entire day off because your lower body is sore. Doing upper body will get your legs in motion and aid in muscle recovery, instead of sitting on your butt all day immobile allowing your muscles to tighten and likely fatigue.
If you have me on snapchat you heard me explain today why cool down's are also important (Ktalley3).
BONUS: We all know the benefits of stretching.. Foam rolling is also always a part of my rest and recovery days, why?
Here's what foam rolling does for you!
Foam rolling is a soft tissue massage that allows for myofacial release and can be utilized pre and post-workout.
During exercise, your muscles contract. This contraction causes the muscle to shorten which can inhibit flexibility and microscopic tears from overloading the muscles cause muscle soreness. Foam rolling elongates the muscle back to allow for normal functioning, which can be characterized by normal blood flow and the ability to be used without delay.
In order to get the greatest benefits of foam rolling, be sure and roll from the origin to the insertion (top/bottom) of the muscle, focusing on points that seem more sore than the rest. This will ensure that the entire muscle is worked. Spending about 30+ seconds at each muscle is ideal, similar to how long a static stretch should be held post exercise.
That increased blood flow and circulation allows for a decrease in muscle soreness and increased flexibility. Foam rolling is like giving yourself a massage after a long day of work; take advantage of it.
-Tanner Lowry, B.S. Sport Science, USAW
“Overload Principle: In Training. In Life.
"It's a hurts so good kind of thing!"