Pushing your body too far in the name of exercise is not healthy. There is nothing wrong with trying to push yourself, but you need to know where your limits are. Whether you are suffering from an injury, or you have just overdone it with your last workout, whenever you feel any pain or swelling in your muscles, it is vital that you give them the appropriate time to recover.

Many athletes in this position end up hindering their own recovery without even realizing it. Here are some common ways that athletes hold up their own recovery, and how you can avoid them.

Poor Diet

One of the most important factors in determining the speed of your recovery after an intense workout will be your diet. At first, the link between your diet and your recovery time might not be obvious, but once you start to think about it, it begins to make a whole lot of sense. Think of it like this – after you exercise, your muscles need time to repair and recover. It is this process of repairing and recovering that enables muscles to grow and become stronger.

In order for your body to be able to build new muscle, it has to have access to the essential building blocks required. It’s like trying to build a house; if you don’t have any bricks or mortar, then you aren’t going to get very far. While we can produce the bricks and concrete via physical processes, our bodies can only work with the ingredients that we give them when constructing new cells. If you are not providing your body with the building blocks that it needs via the food that you eat, then your muscle recovery time is going to be slowed down significantly. What’s more, without a proper diet, you can forget about building new muscle entirely.


Not Enough Sleep

A lack of sleep is the other common reason for muscle recovery to be delayed. While you are asleep, your body performs most of its essential maintenance work. It is a common misconception that it is only during sleep that our bodies repair themselves; your body is in fact constantly undergoing a variety of processes required for its upkeep.

However, it’s during sleep that the most important and intensive maintenance work occurs. You need to give your body adequate time to not only rest and carry out this work, but to progress through the stages of sleep to the REM stage. While your brain is in REM sleep, your brain and body are both able to recover significantly faster from damage and fatigue.

Low quality sleep is a common problem among athletes. In fact, it is a common problem among the population in general. While sleep is essential for athletes, many athletes still fail to take it as seriously as they should. Given how important adequate sleep is for muscle recovery, athletes should be just as willing to invest in a good mattress and bed as they are in a pair of good sneakers.

If you want to get a good night’s rest every night, then you need to make sure that you have a suitable sleeping environment. That means an environment that is free of noise and light, both of which can interrupt your sleep and reduce the quality of your sleep. You also need to be physically comfortable. If you are sleeping on a cheap mattress or a couch, not only will you be uncomfortable, but you might end up significantly extending the recovery time for even the simplest of muscle injuries.

Not Giving Yourself Enough Recovery Time

For people who regularly workout, being unable to exercise properly for even a few days can be incredibly frustrating. As a result, there is always a temptation with minor injuries to grin and bear the pain without letting it interfere with your exercise routine.

But there is a reason that you feel pain after exercising particularly hard. This is your body’s way of telling you that you have overdone it. If you don’t listen to your body and you continue to push yourself even though you are beginning to notice pain, you will end up exacerbating any muscle damage. When people do this, they often end up turning a minor and insignificant injury into a serious issue that makes it pretty much impossible for them to work out at all.

Even if you are only experiencing a mild amount of pain and discomfort, if you think that your muscle needs time to recover, then you should always give it that time. It is better to take a day or two off to rest and recuperate instead of pushing yourself and causing a much worse injury.

It is far too easy for even experienced athletes to hold up their own muscle recovery process. People often underestimate how closely linked the different components of their health are. If you want your muscles to recover quickly, then you need to ensure you have a proper diet, an exercise routine, and good quality sleep.


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