Practicing a sports activity is full of benefits: It is not only great for the physical enhancement but also for the psychological boost, due to the endorphins released. At the same time, though, all kinds of sports stress the muscles including swimming. Regardless of the trainees’ level -professional or amateur- muscle recovery is probably the most significant phase after the end of each practice. This is why it is highly beneficial to be aware of the activities you need to perform for quicker muscle recovery.
What Helps Sore Muscles Recover Faster?
Muscles are the “force” that moves our bodies and are directly related to the brain and the signals it sends for moving them. Moreover, they play a vital role in the processes of digestion (with the food we eat moving through the digestive stomach muscles) and breathing (the heart is a muscular organ). Thus, getting proper care of our muscles is a necessity for keeping high standards of health. Physical activities reinforce muscles, but they also make them sore after each practice. What you should have in mind is the means for succeeding a faster recovery of sore muscles:
- Proper warming up before each workout.
- Using the right equipment (e.g., shoes, gloves, helmet, etc.) for avoiding further soring of the muscles and avoiding possible injuries
- Stretching out after the finish of each practice
- Healthy diet
- Proper hydration of the body
- Getting quality sleep
What you need to have in mind is that the faster recovery of sore muscles is not only relevant to what you do after the training, but it has to do with the way you treat them before and during the workout. If you don’t pay attention to the right warming up, if you leave your muscles exposed to possible injuries and if you don’t eat or sleep properly, the core muscles will recover much slower. Not to mention the possible injuries that could occur because of neglecting all those crucial factors.
What Happens During Muscle Recover?
To answer this question, we need to understand the whole process. When performing a physical activity, we actually “damage” our muscles because we activate them. Of course, the density of the physical activity is highly relevant to the stretching of the muscles. For example, a person who lifts heavy weights puts stress on his muscle fibers while someone who jogs does not “force” his muscles so heavily. In both cases, however, the muscle recovery follows the same pattern: First of all, the stem cells take action for repairing the damaged muscles. These cells don’t have a specific role in our bodies, but they can become activated when “needed.” They originate from adult body tissues and embryos and are always present in our bodies throughout our whole lives. Stem cells become active when the body needs them, and muscle recovery is one of those times.
The second process that occurs during muscle recovery is the removal of lactic acid from our bodies. Lactic acid is the body created during the time of recovery. Its extraction is essential for keeping sufficient pH blood levels. Again, the above processes are connected to the actions needed for faster recovery of the muscles and are taking place quicker when we make sure that we follow all the essential steps.
It should be quite evident until this point that quick muscle recovery is dependent on our activities. “Helping” our bodies during the recovery process is a significant prerequisite for keeping our muscles strong. If we would like to choose just three activities for recovering our muscles at a quicker rate, we could mention the following:
- Use ice
- Drink lots of water
- Learn and perform the right stretches
The use of ice allows muscles to constrict the surrounding blood vessels, thus allowing more time to metabolize the lactic acid. Although there is no undisputed scientific evidence for proving that ice speeds up muscle recovery, empirical evidence suggests that ice reduces the pain signals that the sore muscles send to the brain, making the whole process smoother. It is not accidental that studies have shown that ice helps people with chronic pain to feel better.
The second activity is again related to water. Drinking lots of water during muscle recovery removes toxins from your body and keeps your muscles working properly. Water consumption speeds up recovery time, reducing feelings of soreness as well as helping the digestion process.
Finally, stretching helps the muscles to recover faster and enhances flexibility, while at the same time reduces muscle fatigue. Neglecting the post-exercise stretching will result in a feeling of tightness in your body because the muscles will not be able to pull on joints.
The human body is like a miraculous machine. When talking about quick and effective muscle recovery, we shall be aware of all the aspects that help to achieve it. Treating our body like an entity that deserves our full respect can lead us to a harmonious and healthy life.