Sports are a great hobby to have. Not only do you get the opportunity to hangout with your friends, but you also get the opportunity to get in some physical exercise. Whether you play recreationally or competitively, sports are a great way to stay in shape and have fun doing it.
No matter the level you play a sport at, you have most likely felt the aches and pains associated with a hard day on the turf, court, or ring. While there is some level of discomfort, many people find pleasure in knowing that they utilized their body to its fullest potential and wear their soreness as a badge of honor.
Recovery is much more than simply avoiding the soreness after a sporting event. The recovery period is the time in which the body gets to work repairing and building up the body. During a sporting event or workout many stresses are placed upon the body. These stresses result in microtears in the muscle and strain placed on the bones. These external pressures and micro damages are actually beneficial and are what contribute to the building of strong bones and muscles.
To restore and repair your body following a sporting event it is important to properly recover. Below are six different areas to pay attention to for getting the most out of your recovery.
Sports recovery is quite the task for your body. During the recovery phase your body needs to replenish energy stores, repair muscle tissue, build bones, all while resting. While you may be at rest when you are recovering, your body is hard at work at the cellular level building you back up for your next event.
During recovery the cells in your body are constantly utilizing essential nutrients obtained from your diet to help build back the body stronger to better handle the stresses placed on them. With busy lifestyles and the wide variety of different molecules the body requires, it may be a good decision to find a supplement to help give your body the tools it needs to recover.
Due to the energy intensive nature of repairing the body, a CoQ10 supplement is a great choice for aiding in your recovery at a cellular level. CoQ10 is an antioxidant molecule that is found in the membrane of the cell structure called the mitochondria. The mitochondria is responsible for converting carbon chains like carbohydrates into the usable energy form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) for the cell. CoQ10 plays a pivotal role in the protection and efficiency by which the mitochondria is able to turn out ATP. Many factors can decrease your CoQ10 levels including age, and as a result mitochondria become less efficient. Bolstering your mitochondria through taking MitoQ is a great way to ensure the cells responsible for cellular recovery have all the energy resources needed to effectively recover.
MitoQ is the best CoQ10 vs. the rest of the competition because of its high bioavailability and ability to easily be integrated into the mitochondrial membrane. Other CoQ10 supplements are simply not chemically able to have the same level of mitochondrial integration.
Hydration is another important component to sports recovery. The human body consists of a large proportion of water and for good reason. Water is considered the universal solvent and is able to dissolve more substances than any other liquid. Biologically this is a necessary component to life as many different substances need to be transferred across the fluid membrane of cells without disrupting the membrane.
For post-sporting recovery it is important to hydrate to help support the cells that just endured the stresses of the event. Many sporting events result in water loss to sweat and evaporation. Staying hydrated allows your body to have an easier time transporting vital nutrients and building blocks to the cells that need to repair and replenish. It also allows cells to more effectively get rid of byproducts that could be dangerous if accumulated.
The importance of drinking water extends past just the recovery phase. Muscle cells, ligaments, joints, and virtually every cell in your body requires water to function optimally and retain functionality. Water is also thought to be a large component in elasticity. When you are dehydrated you are impacting your body at a cellular level and could be reducing vital elasticity needed in ligaments and muscles to prevent injury during sports.
Many athletes take the time to count macros, keep track of progress in the gym, and research the best energy supplements. These are all constructive to improving wellness and performance, however many leave out a critical aspect to their wellbeing and performance, sleep.
Sleep plays an important role in the recovery process. A study in Brazil even proposed that lack of sleep can hinder the muscle recovery process. While the exact mechanism is not known for sure, it is well documented that sleep is an important process for many different aspects of your health. The importance of sleep should not be underestimated and should be just as important as other performance based changes.
Macros is shorthand for macromolecules and is a term utilized by many sports nutritionists. Macromolecules include carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, and nucleotides. These represent the building blocks of life and ensuring you are getting the right amount in your diet is essential to performance and recovery.
Carbohydrates are a macromolecule in living things and are an important component to the recovery process. The body utilizes carbohydrates as a main source of energy for the cells in your body. The most common of these is glucose. Glucose is broken down by the mitochondria and subsequently turned into ATP which is utilized by the cell as energy.
When exercising your body quickly runs out of blood glucose in the bloodstream from your meal. The body turns to glycogen stores which breaks down back into glucose to meet energy demands. During sports recovery it is important to restore those glycogen stores to allow yourself to perform at your best again. The consumption of carbohydrates helps rebuild these glycogen stores.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play a large role in the development of muscle tissue. When you play a sport or work out, skeletal muscle experiences micro tears within the muscle fibers. As a result your body needs to patch those tears with new muscle tissue. Because proteins are necessary in the formation of muscle tissue, you should ensure you consume protein to give your body the amino acids it needs to recover.
Active recovery may seem like an oxymoron, but it truly is an effective way to recover. It consists of a less intense movement after an activity is done. In the world of fitness, this is typically known as the cool down. Essentially after playing sports or working out an individual takes a small period of time to work the muscle groups, but to a lesser extent than the intensity experienced.
As an example if you are playing a sport where you are sprinting, active recovery could consist of stretching and walking. Active recovery has been shown to decrease Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the soreness that you feel a while after a workout is done and can be uncomfortable. Active recovery could potentially help to decrease that discomfort.
Many people have seen high-level athletes hop into an ice water bath after an event. While one would think that this helps recovery, at the very most it only helps reduce inflammation. A warm bath is the better way to go if your goal is to promote healing.
When the body is exposed to warmth, blood vessels dilate and blood flow increases within tissues. This increase of fluid flow promotes healing and can assist with recovery as your cells need constant resources and removal of waste products to recover. The increase in blood flow allows for this process to happen at a greater efficiency.
In summary, the recovery phase is a very important stage when prioritizing your fitness. Setting aside the time and energy to invest in your recovery is a great way to improve your overall health and performance. The time period during recovery consists of many behind-the-scenes processes happening within your body. Muscles are being built, bones are strengthening, and many other processes are occurring.
By taking supplements, hydrating, getting rest, having good nutrition, utilizing active recovery, and taking warm baths you are giving your cells the resources and conditions they need to properly recover and get you ready for your next workout or sporting event.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.