Recovery is key!

Tips to Recover from a Workout

Proper recovery following a workout is as essential as the workout itself. Whether you are starting to workout for the first time or are altering your regimen, proper recovery is crucial to sustaining a long-term workout plan. During exercises, the body undergoes a controlled amount of stress. Tissues in your body need this stress in order to improve their function and your performance. In fact, when you exercise, your muscles actually undergo "micro-trauma" due to the imposed demand of your activity. Recovery is your chance to build yourself back up stronger than before: it is the link between short-term, immediate benefit and long-term, lasting outcome. 

The following tips can help you attain maximum benefit from your workout and reduce the risk of developing an injury (

- Stretching: Stretching is an important part of recovery, but it rarely receives the time or attention it deserves. The purpose of stretching is to maintain the flexibility of tissues that are tight of stiff from an activity or prolonged position. A very general rule for stretching is dynamic stretching (stretching as you are moving) before exercise, static stretching (held stretching) after exercise, and foam rolling throughout. 

- Refueling (Hydration and Nutrition): Proper fueling before exercise is important to optimize performance, but nutrition for recovery from exercise is often overlooked. Our bodies rely upon a well-balanced array of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to aid in rebuilding the prats of our body that have been stressed during exercise. Water is also absolutely essential to overall health. In particular, following exercise, proper hydration is key to replace the fluids that you have lost during your activity. Make a habit of keeping a water bottle in your purse, gym bag, car or workplace for easy and reliable access. 

- Sleeping: Often taken for granted, sleep is your body's prime opportunity to recover. When the body is at rest, the repair of our muscular, cardiovascular, skeletal and immune system can go to work. The CDC recommends that, in general, teens have 9-10 hours and adults have 7-8 hours of sleep each day. These guidelines are especially important if you are demanding more of your body through regular exercise or stressful daily activities. 

Fortunately, not only is your physical therapist trained to design an individualized exercise program for you, but they can also provide guidelines and strategies to ensure that you recover in the most effective way. If you would like to have a more in depth assessment of your current level of strength, range of motion or have a specific injury that you are working with, please call us at Iowa City Physical Therapy at 319-339-4278.