Why is recovery important in sports
Why is recovery important in sports
The “no pain, no gain” philosophy may be “so ‘80s”, yet even the sharpest of sports aficionados often overlook the importance of not pushing their body too hard by overtraining, and the result is often that they end up with injuries or pain from working out. Today, most leading sports experts agree that the best approach to recovery is prevention: to consider how much your body can take, and not overtrain, to begin with, so that recovery is a mild, rather than difficult process.
The Role of Recovery in Getting Great Results
Recovery is an integral part of training, and contemporary trainers have acknowledged that resting between workouts and even during workouts is equally as important as the training process itself. Receiving the right guidance from a skilled trainer who understands your personal abilities and limitations is crucial, as is learning to listen to your body rather than pushing it through training that can cause temporary or severe damage.
Indeed, it has been shown that by letting your body recover correctly – whether that may involve taking one or two days off from sports each week, receiving therapies such as acupuncture and sports massage that centres on the soft tissues, getting plenty of sleep and learning to breathe correctly – your results will be far better. From building muscle mass and strength to accentuating endurance, flexibility or burning calories, the secret is all in proper recovery. And a major part of that recovery involves what you eat.
Why Diet is a Vital Part of Prevention and Recovery
Your diet has an enormous impact on your physiological as well as mental state. A correct nutritional plan enables you to speed up the recovery process, rebuild damaged muscle fibers, counteract oxidative stress or eliminate waste (such as lactic acid) produced during exercise, prevent or minimise the loss of muscle tissue and function, balance energy production, maintain a positive mental state and protect immunity, while the food you consume can even alter your DNA.
What to Eat for Effective Recovery
The most vital diet-related step to take for successful recovery (as well as generally when exercising, to prevent injury) is to include a range of anti-inflammatory foods into your daily diet. Inflammation is your body’s response to stress, so including foods that reduce inflammation helps recovery considerably.
Starting with the ‘Don’ts’, you should at all costs avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, processed meats and cheeses, fried foods and anything containing E number preservatives or hydrogenated fats.
Instead, aim to eat more of the following:
- Whole foods such as brown or wild rice, oats, legumes such as beans, lentils and peas
- Colorful vegetables and fruit, such as dark leafy greens, berries
- Foods rich in good-quality fat such as nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like herring, salmon, sardines and mackerel.
- Turmeric powder or root, which can be added to your cooking or a drink. Half to a quarter teaspoon of turmeric, which is rich in curcumin, will suffice.
- Ginger, which inhibits the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines that induce inflammation.
Other major dietary steps that help speed up recovery are:
- Making sure that you are well-hydrated at all hours of the day
- Consume carbohydrate-rich foods to prevent the depletion of stored glycogen that can result from training. Fruit (avocado, bananas, cherries, berries), starchy vegetables (beetroot, sweet potato, pumpkin), grains (quinoa), legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans), seeds (pumpkin, flaxseeds) and dairy products (eggs, yoghurt, cheese) are all vital ingredients for your recovery diet.
- Eat protein-rich foods to aid muscle repair. These include meats, eggs, seafood such as shrimp and mussels, fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel and cod, Legumes and dairy products such as cheese.
- Get enough omega-3s, found in fish high in fat (salmon, mackerel, sardines) but also in walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
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