Good health is the result of doing what works best to strengthen the body: mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery. It’s that last pillar that is sometimes overlooked. Recovery is the pillar that allows the body to respond to your mental dedication, positive dietary changes, and consistent movement. Without recovery, the body stays out of balance and doesn’t have time for the muscle repair and rest it needs to perform at its best. A lack of purposeful recovery is responsible for most sports-related injuries, so schedule your recovery days just like you would a workout. They’re that important.
Recovery vs. regeneration
Recovery is rest from stressful workouts, but it doesn’t always mean total rest. A training day that features low-impact, steady-state cardio like walking or swimming is a great way to incorporate active recovery into your workout routine. Any activity that supports recovery is called regeneration and can include massage, guided stretching, foam rolling, and movements that help muscles recover more quickly.
Finding your regeneration mix
Proper nutrition, sleep, compression, hydrotherapy, and soft-tissue management are just a few examples of regeneration activities. The focus is to find the right combination of activities that work together to relieve tension, alleviate aches and pains, reduce stress, and help the body recover faster. Before long, you’ll find that you’re recovering faster and that your body feels better prepared for the next challenge.
Assessing your needs
The body endures four types of stress — mechanical, neural, metabolic, or psychological. The most effective way to help the body recover is to use regeneration strategies that are specific to the type of stress endured.
- Mechanical stress is physical stress to bones, muscles, and tissues. Use regeneration therapies like compression in combination with decreased training intensity if your body is showing signs of mechanical stress.
- Neural stress is that which affects the nervous system. Meditation, breathing exercises and other calming activities can offset the effects of neural stress.
- Metabolic stress manifests as low energy levels. Proper nutrition addresses this by fueling the body for the work we’re asking it to perform.
- Psychological stress affects the mindset and can lead to boredom or other negative thoughts. Vary your workout and incorporate games to keep the mind engaged and focused.
No matter the stress that’s affecting your body, the best strategy for allowing the body plenty of rest and regeneration is getting adequate sleep. It targets all four types of stress and keeps the mind and body resilient. In addition, try these regeneration movements from our partners, EXOS, to relieve tension, alleviate aches and pains, reduce stress and shorten the body’s recovery time. Use a trigger point ball, a tennis ball, or a foam roller to perform these regeneration movements at home.
At the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, we have developed a program to provide our members with a specific plan of action that includes regeneration. Starting where you are right now, our Wellness Assessment and Report provides a 360° view of your six dimensions of wellness, including:
- Physical Fitness
- Metabolic Fitness
- Diet & Nutrition
- Quality of Life
Regeneration isn’t something that happens without a purpose. Find the right mix of movement and recovery with your personalized Wellness Assessment and Report and remember that you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. We’re here to help.
In partnership with EXOS, a world leader in human performance and the management company for CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.