Most athletes know how important recovery is for their performance. But often recovery only includes time spent on relaxation with playstation or TV, and sleep. And more often than not, when I have asked athletes how they actually sleep, they respond: “not so good, really”.
Even though most people know that recovery is important, the reality is that many don´t really know much about it so it don´t get the attention it deserves.
Recovery can be defined as “techniques and actions taken to maximize your body´s repair and return to homeostais“.
Recovery is multifaceted and encompassens a lot more than just muscle repair and glucose refueling. Blood circulation, blood chemistry, cellular repair, oxidative stress, peripheral nerves, brain chemistry, hormones, mental state, and much more. All this is part of what we need to include when we choose smarter strategies for recovery. Maybe you already notice that the breathing function touches on almost ALL these aspects?
It is important to note that hydration, nutrition and sleep does not remove DOMS. It is only by adding the RecoveryBreathing protocol that DOMS can be completely removed during day 2.
Here is a list of the most popular recovery activities and techniques, apart from breathing. Which rarely (never, really) is mentioned.
1. Hydration – Drink lots of water. A well hydrated body has better delivery of nutrients and removal of metabolic waste products. You can see if you are well hydrated on the colour of your urine. If its a clear shade of yellow, you are good. If its a darker shade of yellow, you are dehydrated.
2. Nutrition – Sugar and wheat are often considered recovery-food, but for many people these substances will only create other problems. Eat real food. Meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, unprocessed fats. The body needs real food. Not fake or damaged food. Especially berries with high antioxidant contentseems to be particularly useful in fighting DOMS.
3. Sleep – Aim for at least 8 hours of good quality sleep.
(4. Breathing – this is where Recovery Breathing should find its place on the list. After water, food and sleep, and before all the rest (no pun intended).)
4. Rest – Spend a lot of time during the day to relax
5. Heat, ice, compression, electrical stimulation – there are many special activities that can help boost recovery.
6. Stretching – A good stretch feels real good. Even though science has not proven any relation between stretching and sport-related injuries or recovery, it no doubt feels good. And that alone has great value on your recovery process.
7. Massage – A good massage feels real good! And it might reduce DOMS by approximately 30%.
8. Dietary supplements – Protein, Vitamin D, Tart Cherry, Tomato juice, Chocolate milk, recovery drinks, herbs, mushrooms, etc. There are so many products that is commercially related to recovery. Don’t by into any hype, but try different products and see what works for you.
9. Spend time with friends and family – This is really important. Not only for recovery, but for quality of life.
Aside from sleep, nutrition and hydration, the breathing is the one recovery action we can take that no doubt includes most (if not all) of the physiological aspects of recovery: increasing blood circulation in the capillaries (the smallest arteries) by increasing CO2. This gives more bloodflow and optimizes nutritional delivery and metabolic waste removal in both nerves and muscle cells. It also increases oxygen availability while at the same time decreasing oxygen intake. This means there is less oxidative stress and more recovery and repair. The increased CO2 also acts as antioxidants directly in the mitochondria where they are produced. Keeping your mitochondria protected. The slow breathing also removes stress hormones and calms our mind. What more do you need for recovery?
Using breathing impacts blood chemistry, hormones, peripheral nerves, central nerves (brain), cellular repair, and much more. It is the missing piece in effective recovery.