How To Improve Recovery From Exercise hdr

How To Improve Recovery From Exercise


Many of our patients want to get the very best from their bodies. To be able to maximise your training you need to maximise your recovery from exercise. Active recovery optimises training gains. So what are the best ways to recover from exercise?


Stretching has several benefits after exercise. It can help increase both muscle length and range of motion. It may align collagen fibres which results in pain-relieving benefits. It also can help improve our posture. Of course, it also reduces muscle tension and alleviates stress.
All stretching modalities can improve range of motion. PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) is the best form of stretching to increase range of motion. This type of stretching works by stretching and contracting the muscles. A few examples of this type of stretching includes:
· The Hold-relax technique – Stretch the muscle without moving, hold and then relax.
· The Contract-relax technique – Stretching the muscle whilst movement or resistance is added
· Hold-relax-contract technique – Stretch the muscle without moving, hold and then pushing deeper into the stretch.

Light Exercise

Gentle exercise works (yes, more exercise!) best when combined with stretching. This might include walking or very gentle spinning the legs on the bike. Gentle exercise helps your body cool down and calms the nervous system. It has been found to improve sleep after exercise and reduce soreness. But remember, don’t overdo it. You do not want to deplete energy levels or to increase muscle damage. Simple games can be helpful to boost psychological recovery. For this, playing with your kids provides great recovery.

Myofascial release

Myofascial release is a soft tissue therapy. It is done using a foam roller. It works by something called autogenic inhibition. This reduces the excited state of the stretched muscle and activates the opposing muscle. It can help increase the range of motion of joints and reduce muscle pain. To perform myofascial release roll your muscles on your foam roller. When you hit a tender spot, maintain pressure on that area for 30-60 seconds. 

Hot or Cold

Cold and hot therapies work by decreasing the “thermal load” of the muscle and hence improve performance. The combination of hot and cold is often used at a ratio of 3 or 4:1. Both hot and cold and heat can be effective for reduces muscle damage after exercise. Cold is superior to heat in reducing muscle pain after exercise. Whole-body cryotherapy has been found to reduce muscle pain after exercise and improve recovery from exercise.


Compression tights may have some limited benefits on performance and physiology of muscles. They also seem to help with reducing muscle swelling and soreness. The main effect of compression tights appears to be psychological but this beneficial effect should not be underestimated.


Nutrition can have a profound impact on our recovery from exercise. In endurance exercise, optimal ingestion of macronutrients following a workout to boost recovery is 30-60 minutes post-exercise, 7-10g/kg of carbohydrate and 1.2-1.8g/kg of protein. The carbohydrate helps restore glycogen levels in the muscles. The protein helps with protein production in the fatigued muscles. Don’t forget re-hydration as part of your nutritional strategy after exercise. Checking your weight pre- and post-exercise can be helpful for calculating how much you need to drink to re-hydrate. 


Relaxing the mind is as important as relaxing the body. Music, meditation and breathing exercises have all been found to benefit recovery. These techniques also have great benefit in reducing stress.
There are multiple avenues by which we can optimise muscle recovery post-exercise. A strong balance between training and recovery will accelerate your athletic progression. All of these techniques also provide great stress relief which makes them a double win.