Proper recovery practices should be a priority for avid exercisers, high school athletes or merely a weekend warrior out on the golf course. Any physical activity, especially for long periods of time, can leave the body feeling sore, tight and tired. Essentially, an unrecovered body can cause an impact in other aspects of life such as a lack of mental sharpness and a weakened immune system. To avoid these symptoms and keep feeling up to par, follow these tips for essential elements of recovery:
Nutrition. Maintaining a proper diet is vital for recovery; however, try to avoid “fad” diets and extreme eating plans. Everyone’s body is different and not one diet will fit everyone’s needs perfectly. Instead, focus on finding the right diet for individual needs, and one that contains the foods that affect the body in a positive way. An easy tip for finding quality foods is looking at the ingredients on the nutrition label. Opt for foods that are known and can be pronounced. Try to build the base of a diet around quality, balanced meals that contain the right ratio of protein/carbs/fat. According to Livestrong, a ratio around 40/30/30 will work best; however, you can adjust intake depending on the intensity of activities and goals.
Sleep. The body heals itself when asleep. Whether someone is trying to lose weight, gain muscle or be a better athlete, lack of sleep will hinder an individual’s ability to do so. Sleep helps the body maintain its hormonal balance and mental acuity, as well as repair and rebuild the small micro-tears in the muscles that occur during strenuous physical activity. The right amount of sleep may vary depending on age and activity level. In general, aim to fall within the seven to 10 hour range and try to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Sleeping 12 hours one night and five hours the next will not allow the body to recover.
Stretching. When finished with any physical activity, take five to 10 minutes to stretch. During exercise or sport, muscles are repeatedly firing and contracting. When finished, it is essential to relieve tension in the muscles by taking the time to stretch. Stretching will not only allow the body to cool down but it will help the body feel better for the next challenge. In addition, when done consistently, stretching can help minimize the risk of injury and increase athletic performance. Don’t forget to stretch!
Massage Therapy. When it comes to relieving tension in the body and aiding in recovery, massage is key. Massage is proven to reduce pain, improve blood circulation and help maximize two of the elements above: quality of sleep and improved flexibility. Massage will help to balance the body’s muscular system and relieve tension.
Massage Envy’s therapists will be able to target specific areas that need work and pinpoint muscles that may be causing discomfort in other areas of the body due to imbalances. Massage will aid in relieving tension stored in the body allowing a more restful, deep sleep, and a reduction in pain for better daily performance. In order to get the most out of massage therapy, make sure to maintain a consistent regime. Regular massage relaxes the body and mind, resulting in optimum performance. Massage Envy’s professional massage therapists will consult with each individual to create a plan that works.
By Mark Love
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a massage therapist or esthetician, visit massageenvy.com, call 928-526-ENVY (3689), or visit one of Arizona’s 39 Massage Envy locations. The Flagstaff location is at 1235 S. Plaza Way in the University Plaza Shopping Center, off Milton Road next to Ross and Safeway.
Mark Love is co-owner of Massage Envy. For more information on the benefits of massage, visit MassageEnvy.com.