Sweaty Mommy Survival Guide Tip #10: It’s Not Just the Workout That Counts. The Importance of Recovery Days.
When working out in any program, people tend to believe that intense training is the reason they get better and stronger. That is only a half-truth. Getting stronger requires recovering from intense training. A good runner, swimmer, or Crossfit-er will not improve from intense training if their bodies never have time to recover. It’s the recovery from hard training that improves fitness.
What happens in recovery?
Adjustments and replenishments happen during recovery phases with many parts of the body: muscle fibers, glycogen (related to glucose and energy) stores, mitochondria, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.
When do you do recovery?
Recovery happens in short time periods, like between reps and sets, in specific time periods, with sleeping at night and immediately post-workout, along with between hard workouts, and even between seasons of hard work.
Recovery is not just “sitting on the couch.” Stretching, post-workout injury prevention exercises, rest and sleep, rehydration, and active recovery days all impact your body’s fitness level.
Why recovery days?
If you’re a distance runner, you might have the mindset of “no days off.” If you’re doing a 30-day yoga challenge, you also have that mindset.
Recovery days are very important regardless of sport or activity levels. Bodies replace hormones, enzymes, fuel, muscle fibers and connective tissues during recovery.
Even doing an easier workout can help your body recover. For runners, an easy run is a fine recovery, as long as it’s actually an easy run. (Don’t fall into temptation to run harder because someone else is, or because you feel good: instead, run easy when you are supposed to run easy.) For yogis, perhaps a yin class or a slow flow class after a few more intense classes.
If you’re a 30 year old with medium fitness, Magill, Schwartz, and Breyer recommend 4 days between hard workouts. For 40 year olds, they recommend 4.5 days. Add a day if you consider yourself lower fitness, or subtract a day if you consider yourself high-fitness.
As parents, we also might need recovery days from daily life, too. The demands we have for keeping house, holding a job, maintaining relationships, and loving our family and children can add up stress into your mind and body. Stress is shown to have many negative consequences on your body, including physical and mental.
Find activities and hobbies besides your main workouts that alleviate stress. Plant flowers, color in coloring books, hang out in the kitchen, or go hiking in this super functional and fashionable all-weather jacket by Get Karvd that can be worn over one (or two!) attached babies.
With recovery days, your body will improve faster. You’ll be more mentally ready to train harder when you’re supposed to. You’ll see more joy in your daily life, both in workouts and outside workouts.
Photograph by: April Davidson Bly Photography