Monday, February 15, 2010

The Importance of Recovery Days in a Fitness Routine

I am not what most people would call in “peak physical shape.” Sure, I watch what I eat and try my best to consume a heart healthy diet (including margarine, fruits & veggies, nuts, lean proteins, fish, etc.). But, at the same time I do love me some chocolate, ice cream and other sweet delights. I’m at a normal weight for my height and plan to stay that way through diet and exercise.

Here’s the thing though – I exercise six out of the seven days a week. One would assume my body would be ripped and void of any fat. Nope. Not even close. I do 45 minutes of cardio every day and strength train for 20-30 minutes three to four days a week. So, what the heck am I doing wrong?

Well, apparently my consistent exercise routine is actually the problem. You see, because my body is constantly strained, I am not giving my muscles any time to repair, and thus, become stronger. My strict exercise regime is actually hindering my healthy lifestyle. Whodathunk?!!

So, starting this week I am going to build recovery days into my schedule. According to this article from About.com

"Building recovery time into any training program is important because this is
the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training
effect takes place. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and
repair damaged tissues. Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in
the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores
(muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss.

Recovery time allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. Symptoms of overtraining often occur from a lack of recovery time. Signs of overtraining include a feeling of general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and increased risk of injury, among others."

Thoughts? Opinions? I’d love to hear ‘em.

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