I know you may be zealous to start this year with a new or upgraded fitness routine. First, let me give you a virtual high five. I’ll also share some expert tips to recover from over exercising, because it’s likely to happen if you continue toward your goals.
Over two decades ago when I started my career in health and fitness I would have told you exercise is always good for you. Then I saw the other side. I saw the injury, the overuse, the burn out when clients took a good thing too far. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can cause fatigue and injuries and even suppress your immune system.
The good news is, you can continue to exercise, stay fit, and reach new goals for your body at any age or stage of life. However, it requires being intentional about two things – techniques to prevent overtraining and strategies to help you recover. If you are feeling sore during or after your workouts, the steps I outline below are critical to staying in the fitness game long term and reaching goals you may have never thought possible.
First, we must prevent overtraining.
- Maintain Consistency. Gradual conditioning is the best way to prevent injury. Consistency allows your body to be prepared for the activity you are performing and helps you avoid weekend warrior syndrome.
- Vary Your Routine. Varying the activities you perform also allows your body to adapt to new stressors and let other parts of your body have a little rest. It’s the best way to maintain consistency with exercised while not over training.
- Stretch Daily. Take time for dynamic stretches before a workout to warm up your body. Static stretches are best at the end of a workout to regain muscle length, increase range of motion, and support recovery.
- Clarify Your Priorities. Make exercise a priority in you agenda each week, but don’t let it take over. Maintain balance with spiritual, relational, and mental health supporting activities for overall wellbeing. Do not sacrifice health in any one area for another.
Then we must optimize our bodies ability to recover.
- Allow your body to rest. There are lots of tricks that provide temporary relief for sore muscles, but rest is the best medicine of all. Your body uses the time in between workouts to heal and become stronger. Deep sleep is the time your body makes the most progress toward recovery.
- Learn about delayed onset muscle soreness. Feeling sore for a day or two is normal as your muscles adapt. Our genetics play a role in how long it takes for our body to make these adaptations. By knowing how much time and what resources your body needs to fight soreness, you can make the most of your exercise efforts. Learn more about Fitness DNA testing HERE.
- Stay hydrated. Water and electrolytes speed up the recovery process. The fluids flush waste products out of your muscles and make it easier for your blood to circulate. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium supply your body with the resources it needs make repairs.
- Get a massage. Massaging sore muscles provides quick relief and may even make them stronger. Some studies show that massage reduces inflammation and helps cells take up more oxygen. This may be in the form of massage therapy, foam rolling, or use of a Thera gun device.
An active lifestyle keeps you looking and feeling better. Most experts agree that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 3 days a week is the best place to start. If you have any questions about how much exercise is safe for you, request a call from a Doctor of Physical Therapy to discuss developing a safe regimen that will keep you fit and free from injury.