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Angela Joy Health & Fitness

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Running From Recovery

And they’re off! The clock is ticking and the runners are making their way through the 5k route towards the finish line.

I make my way through the crowds of people, running one step at a time, trying my best to keep up, however I can’t help but feel—well terrible.

My legs are sore, my throat was throbbing, even my bones felt pain—I was tired.

I had been racing and training hard all summer with little to no recovery periods, and I was feeling the effect.

Continuous exercise, day after day, with little to no rest or recovery can be detrimental to performance as well as health.

Negative effects can occur in muscular strength, mental strength, and physical health.

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The Effects of Too Much Exercise

According to an article published in the U.S. News & World Report titled, “Ten Signs You are Exercising Too Much,” over-exercising without allowing your body adequate rest can lead to “diminished strength and increased body fat.”

The article, written by contributing writer Chelsea Bush, further explains when recovery is not available the body will begin to store fat opposed to burning it.

During exercise the body will transform into survival mode causing it to do what it needs to in order to ensure energy is available at all times. As a result, fat can be stored to avoid the chance of low energy levels.

Ms.  Bush stated in the article that the best way to recover from a difficult workout, such as a fast-paced or long run, is to rest one to two days.

If a full day of rest is simply not possible it is acceptable to participate in a very light bout of recovery exercise.

Additional resting requirements suggested by Ms. Bush include a minimum of eight hours of sleep per night, proper nutrition, and proper hydration.

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How To Properly Recover

Providing the body with adequate recovery is just as important as completing workouts.

In order for the benefits of a hard work out to be experienced the muscles must repair and rebuild so they can strengthen, which will only occur through rest periods.

An article published in the online healthy living website, Very Well, exercise physiologist and fitness consultant Elizabeth Quinn explains why rest and recovery are essential after exercise. “Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild, and strengthen,” Ms. Quinn explains. “In the worst-case scenario, too few rest and recovery days can lead to overtraining system—a difficult condition to recover from.”

During recovery the body will adapt to the stress placed on it through exercise. It will also replenish energy stores lost through the energy needed to exercise as well as repair tissue, Ms. Quinn explained.

Without periods of recovery the body will continue to breakdown and symptoms of overtraining will occur.

Symptoms of overtraining can range from a general overall tiredness, depression, decreased sports performance, increased risk of energy, lack of interest in training, lack of sleep, along with other symptoms, Ms. Quinn stated.

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How To Properly Recover

When recovering from a hard workout or a race there are several recovery measures that should be taken immediately after.

In an article titled, “How to Recover From a Race,” published by Runner’s World Magazine, recovery should be taken in stages from the moment the race or workout ends, to the days and weeks that will follow.

Within the first 24 hours after the workout the body should consume carbohydrates and protein to adequately restore the energy lost during the event.

Within those same 24 hours relaxation of the muscles along with light foam rolling can assist in recovery and blood flow throughout the body.

Once nightfall comes, the athlete should sleep a minimum of eight hours to allow the body and mind adequate restoration.

Runner’s World contributor Brad Stulberg writes, “When you do finally feel drowsy, don’t cut yourself short. Sleep is vital to recovery, so don’t be afraid to hit the snooze button.”

Throughout the next two to three days the athlete can resume exercise, however light exercise is recommended.

“Active recovery expedites the body’s natural repair process by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles,” Mr. Stulberg stated. “Just keep it easy—go for a walk.”

Physiologist and doctoral candidate at the University of Utah’s Vascular Research Lab Corey Hart stated in the Runner’s World article that the athlete should listen to their body.

It is common for athletes to reach for ibuprofen to fight pain after a race or workout, however Hart recommends against it.

“The inflammatory response is signaling recovery,” Hart stated, “and that is not something we want to mask.”

Once three to seven days have passed athletes should check in on how they feel to determine the next steps of the recovery process.

Hart stated that athletes who complete longer distances can experience extended periods of fatigue, known a central system fatigue.

“While training, you are constantly suppressing fatigue or downright ignoring it, which can throw your hormonal profile out of whack,” Hart added.

Those who are still experiencing feelings of fatigue should take precaution and allow time for lengthened rest in an effort to avoid a weakened immune system or injury.

Hart said, “Do not fight this fatigue,” instead he recommends light active recovery.

After even seven to 21 days the body may still be undergoing recovery, depending on the type of workout or race that the athlete endured.

Therefore, the athlete should be cognizant of how their bodies feel.

Physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York Michael Joyner stated in the Runner’s World article that throughout the seven to 21 days after the race athletes can begin to incorporate “some” intensity workouts, depending on how their body has recovered.

“The main thing to remember is that you can’t train if you are injured,” Joyner stated, “focus on reading your body and backing off if soreness and fatigue don’t improve.”

In sum, recovery is a very important aspect of training that should not be ignored or discounted.

Athletes who work out hard will recover just as hard, therefore regardless of the type of activity completed all athletes should make recovery a priority.

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Stay Cool on Your Next Run with These Great Tips!

By: Angela Joy

All year long we count down the days till the sun is shining, the ocean water is glistening and the warm sand sits beneath our toes – alas summer has arrived!

When you live along the Shore, you can’t help but love summer. When you are a runner this love has a completely new meaning.
Warm weather means more daylight which equates to more running – and who doesn’t love more running?

While the warm weather and increased daylight can be fantastic the summer season does have the potential to create some critical situations such as; heat exhaustion, heat stroke, severe dehydration, sun burn, and severe body fatigue.

In an effort to stay cool and healthy this summer while running, try following the following tips.

Running water

  1. Stay Properly Hydrated

Hydration is critical when running during the summer months.
Dehydration can lead to difficulty breathing which can lead to injury, falling faint, or even heat stroke.

When the body is lacking hydration the amount of blood volume decreases causing the heart to pump harder which will impact performance.

As a result it is best to drink water before a run, during a run and after the run.

Be conscious of your hydration level.

Try checking the color of your urine to determine how hydrated your body is.

The darker the color the lower the level of hydration.

The lighter the color the greater the level of hydration.

  1. Warm Up and Warm Down

Before you begin your workout or next race be sure to start with a warm up.

I know this may sound counterproductive especially if temperature is warm and your body already feels warm, however the warm up is a very important part of running.

The warm up allows the body to adapt to the movement that you are preparing for.
Blood is pooled into the legs and arms away from the organs in order to allow you to run.

The warm up also allows the body time to acclimate to the current temperature.

If you spent the morning indoors with the air conditioning on your body will not be prepared to jump outside in the heat and start running.

The warm down, or cool down, is also important.

If it is very hot outside and you have just completed a workout you it is important to slow down your pace for another mile or so, allowing the body to cool down, the heart rate to decrease and

Long Distance

  1. Wear Sun Screen

While running outdoors during the summertime it is important to apply sunscreen to skin surface areas that will be exposed on the run.

Sun burns and skin cancers are not fun, therefore preventative measures such as applying sunscreen early and consistently are essential.

In an article published in Running Times in May 2015 San Diego runner and board certified dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio stated that the best sunscreen to apply is the on “you’ve got.”

Benabio suggests applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 while consistently re-applying.

When applying sunscreen make sure to cover all of your bases; face, lips, head, ears, chest, arms and legs.

  1. Wear the Proper Attire

While I can suggest to you specific clothes to wear in the heat it is equally important to recognize clothes not to wear in the heat.

Clothes that are black, made of cotton, are too big, and stick to the body should not be worn when running in the heat.

Items that should be worn include dri-fit and sunlight reflective clothing, sleeves to block the sun, a hat or visor and sunglasses.

Each item will assist in keeping your skin health, sunburn free and the body cool.

ST Runners

  1. Run at the Right Time of Day

In an effort to avoid the high temperatures or high humidity try running early in morning before sunrise or late at night just before sunset, or even after if possible.

Avoid running in the middle of the day when the temperatures are at their high and the sun is strongest.

Both running early and late in the day may seem inconvenient, however both can be very relaxing and enjoyable.

Very few people are awake or out on the road at these times plus you might get a chance to see a sunset or sunrise.

  1. Run in Shaded Areas

Try running in a new location.

Seek out areas close by a body of water, surrounded by trees or in a cool area.

Running on asphalt, in the middle of the day, without any trees or a breeze can be disastrous.

No matter how well you have prepared for the run you will feel drained and can potentially harm the body.

Seek out shaded areas and enjoy the run without the discomfort.

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  1. Listen to your Body!

Most importantly listen to your body.

Running is the heat can have a dramatically negative impact on the body.

If the proper precautions are not taken you may find yourself feeling nauseous, sluggish, tired, ill and/or dizzy.

Listen to your body. If it feels too hot to run – don’t.

If you feel tired and think you should stop, don’t test yourself – not on a hot day.

Recognize and feeling of concern and address it as soon as possible.

When dealing with heat, err on the side of caution.

Enjoy the sun and the surf this summer. Stay cool and keep running!

 

Do you like to run in the summer? Share with me some of your favorite summer running tips! I would love to hear from you. 

 

❤ Wishing you joy, blessings and love,

Angela Joy

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