Train hard. Recover hard. Recovery is the next hottest wave in fitness. It's what keeps professional athletes, professional athletes. It's a must-do for both extreme fitness types and sports enthusiast of all varieties, from runners to yogis. Now, for those who strive toward the seven day, power packed workout schedule, but instead spend a few days each week in reality-stricken guilt...recovery is the best trend to happen to exercise since smoothie counters.
Recovery: It's not what it sounds like, exactly. After a training session or intense workout, recovery is the process of your body restoring (healing) itself — muscles receive the nutrients they need to reenergize, hormones rebalance and the central nervous system gets a moment to repair. Active bodies need to focus just as much on recovery as they do training, not just for relaxation, but also for endurance and injury prevention. Side note: recovery does not mean mere downtime; it means efficient downtime.
For ages, athletes have been using the perks of infrared therapy as a secret recovery weapon. Not only is it an oh-so-soothing, mind/body experience, it's a great way to maximize downtime between workouts. Infrared light waves heat the body directly (unlike a traditional sauna that heats the air) and increase your body's core temperature (which increases circulation and blood flow, so it's like working out — without working out).
First off, there are two types of recovery: one that puts you at a standstill under doctor's orders, and one that restores your body. Even though sometimes, after a feisty-fitness session (like when you wake up the next morning with concrete legs and an appreciation for the elderly climbing stairs), you might feel like passive recovery is the best option...it's not. You move a little, you feel a lot better.
Passive Recovery. Is what helps repair certain types of injury. It's when the body is resting, which includes sleep, healthy diet and applying compression. It involves doing almost nothing.
Active Recovery. Helps the body flush out and release the nutrients it needs to repair itself, as it gently gets your circulation going, without loading your body with resistance or impact. So, walking, stretching, Frisbee, some light dancing, infrared-sauna-ing...
A DOSE of Recovery
. Passive & Active Are Both Welcome. Infrared therapy both heals and prevents injury.
. Just heat it (heat it)! Infrared saunas enhance blood flow, delivering nutrients to the body, without over-challenging the muscles that need a little rest.
. Clean Up After Yourself. In a sauna, with blood moving and sweat excreting, your body is releasing toxins (that could be impeding your overall performance gusto).
. Loosen up. FYI, muscles and joints love circulation. Give them circulation and a moment of rest, now that's a relax and repair win-win.
Let's take another tip from the pro athletes. Those who sport-a-living, literally, also favor infrared sauna use because it leads to an increase in HGH. What is HGH? It's the human growth hormone, naturally produced by the body in the pituitary gland, and, as its name suggests, it's responsible for cell growth and regeneration. An increase in HGH is beneficial for many reasons including repairing tissue, healthy organs and skin — a.k.a. it's a look good, feel good hormone everyone wants more of.
While an injured athlete may be restrained from activity, infrared saunas boost HGH, which not only stimulates recovery, it releases endorphins — a way to avoid workout FOMO. In other words, say you're a runner and you can't run for injury reasons...infrared saunas give you that runner's high, while also burning calories, while also helping your body heal.
Good recovery, good recoup. Infrared provides hyperthemic conditioning, which is a fancy way of saying that infrared exposure helps you stand the heat, so you don't get stuck in the kitchen. By acclimating the body's core temperature to feelin' hot-hot-hot, you prep your physical endurance later on...for say, a sweaty summer marathon, or an outdoor, asphalt-grounded basketball game.
Book a HigherDOSE sauna after, before, or in-between workouts. Oh, and try these everyday recovery tips, too.
About Balance. Always plan recovery into your workout schedule, as a part of your workout schedule, to keep a healthy balance.
Break or Risk Breakage. Allow 24-72 hours between intense training sessions, focusing your workout on other areas of the body and implementing proper downtime.
Zzz. Lack of sleep reduces tolerance, affects your mood and increases both physical and mental fatigue.
Cheers! Hydrate. There's never a better-yourself list that doesn't include proper hydration.
On The Inside. Diet. During recovery, good nutrition is required to properly rebuild muscle tissue and rebalance enzymes and hormones.
You've Got Options. Ice baths, cold showers, cryotherapy... Don't let the wellness lexicon fool you, recovery doesn't have to be redundant.
Bodywork. Getting a message helps optimize recovery and relieve pain where it's needed, and so does osteopath and acupuncture (yeah, it's a tough life).
Roll Out. You know when you pull a thread on a sweater, and then suddenly, half the sweater just bunches up into nothing? That same thing can happen to our bodies (thanks to factors like stress, dehydration, injury and repetitive activity, etcetera, etcetera.), like when you feel a pain in your knee but actually your shoulder is injured. Myofascial release techniques target and smooth out those small-yet-unexpectedly-impactful tensions. Go for the foam form — using a foam roller is a great form of self-myofascial release.