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What helps muscles to recover after exercise? It's not what you think.

When I was an elite athlete in the 1990s and 2000s, the training volume was the big thing in my sport – cycling and cross-country skiing. To get stronger and faster, we thought to log as many training sessions as possible. Since then I have learned that it is not enough just to go hard. To maximize your profits, you also need to optimize your sleep time. That's because the training itself does not strengthen your muscles and strengthen your stamina. Instead, these are the adjustments that your body makes in response to this workout, and these adjustments take place during the recovery period between workouts.


Good to go: What athletes in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery

No wonder recovery is the ultimate obsession among athletes. Wherever you enable social media, professional athletes and fitness influencers can document their favorite recovery tools and rituals. Meanwhile, companies are facing the sale of products and services that will help you to recover like a champion. I spent a year exploring the science of recovery and investigating the various claims while reporting on my new book, GOOD TO GO: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery . I found some surprises:

Inflammation is not the enemy

I had always understood that inflammation was bad – something that you had to fight or better prevent. However, the latest research has turned this idea on its head. A scientific review from 2013 showed that preventing inflammation can actually hinder recovery. This is because inflammations make an important contribution to the training effect. If you train hard, you will cause microscopic damage to your muscles. The inflammatory response is the first step in repairing this damage and strengthening your muscles so they get stronger next time.

Reduce inflammation, eg. For example, you can use some anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to soften some of the benefits of this workout. Studies suggest that medicines such as ibuprofen or naproxen may interfere with tissue repair and slow down the healing of bone, ligament, muscle and tendon injuries.

Ice baths are another recreational activity that supposedly tames inflammation. In fact, a cold dive does not really stop the inflammation, but can delay it, so some experts, such as Shona Halson, the former recovery director of the Australian Institute of Sport, now suggest that athletes avoid ice baths during the stages

You do not need a calculator or Pipi diagram for proper hydration

Almost since the beginning of sports drink counseling we have been bombarded with messages to drink. drink, drink. It's too late to be thirsty after this once-standard council. Some companies even sell products that use scientific formulas and special sensors to predict or measure how much you sweat, so you're sure to catch every drop of water you sweat. What all these products and messages imply is that your body is working in a precarious state of fluid management that can easily get out of whack. This term of hydration is used to sell many water and sports drinks in bottles, but it does not accurately portray how our bodies handle fluids.

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In reality, it does not matter how much sweat is important in hydration." Reproduction or the color of the urine you pee out. Instead, concentrating salts and other soluble constituents in your blood is the most important thing for performance and health.

Whether you exercise or rest, you need a sufficient balance of fluids and electrolytes in your blood to keep your cells functioning optimally. This balance is tightly regulated by a feedback loop, says Kelly Anne Hyndman, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a leading expert on renal physiology. If you lose salt through sweat, the concentration of salts in your blood drops slightly, causing the release triggered by Antidiureti is c hormone (ADH), which instructs the kidneys to activate aquaporins, which act like small straws that stick in the kidneys and withdraw water into the bloodstream. With this reabsorption of the water, the plasma salt concentration returns to normal, the brain senses the change and shuts off ADH. It's a finely tuned feedback loop, and you can lose some liquid and salt through sweat before you have a problem. To avoid annoyance, you do not have to take any special salts or drinks on a specific schedule. Instead, you just have to be thirsty – the sophisticated signal from your body indicates that water is needed. It is really that easy.

Overdrinking is far more dangerous than low dehydration.

Your body is well-suited to lose sweat during training through sweat, and some scientists have argued that a little "adaptive dehydration" is even better for performance. For example, the legendary Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie is said to have lost up to 10 percent of his body mass through dehydration while setting his 2008 World Marathon record. Although it is often referred to as a major factor in heat stroke, studies suggest that this is an effort (and good, heat), which is the biggest factor in this disease – hydration only plays a minor role. A study that examined 20 years of heat-stroke data during military training found that only 20 percent of the cases had dehydration.

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Drinking too much on the other hand can lead to hyponatremia or "water poisoning" – a potentially fatal condition that occurs when the blood is is diluted dangerously. There has never been a reported case of dehydration during a marathon, but at least five runners died of hyponatraemia that they had developed during a race, and the disease has also affected football players.

Stress Relieves Stress for Your Body

When I was a serious racer, I usually took one day off per week. So far so good, but what I did not always find right on those days off I would do that. Instead of putting my feet up and poking my nose into a book, I ran around doing stressful errands to meet a deadline I postponed. It should be obvious, but you can not recover optimally when you are under stress, and physical and mental stress similarly affects our body. A good recovery plan takes into account both types of stress.

KristinDieffenbach, Ph.D., sports scientist at West Virginia University who trains recreational and endurance athletes, many of whom are also working. She says that one of the common mistakes that athletes make is to reduce the stress their jobs and labor-intensive life have on their bodies. To fully recover, you not only need to take a break from exercise, but also find ways to reduce those other stressors, she says. Because of this, some of the most effective recreational methods I found during my research were not things that targeted my muscles – they calmed my mind. From the almost infinite range of tools I tried, my favorite was floating or what I call "forced meditation." Lying in a pool for an hour-a dark, quiet chamber filled with a few inches of saltwater made my body float weightless-filled me like nothing else.

After immersing myself in recovery for a year, I found a deeper appreciation for the power of recovery to improve athletic performance as well as quality of life. Coping with recovery helped me get more out of my workouts, and it also permeated my days with more relaxation. And that's a win-win situation.

– Accepted from GOOD TO GO: What the Athlete Can Learn from All of Us by the Strange Science of Recovery by Christie Aschwanden.

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