Effective Recovery After Exercise

For many of you it will be welcome news that later on this week gyms will be able to re-open, along with outdoor sport resuming. But how is it best to recover from training so that you’re ready for your next session? This blog looks at what you should be doing to help look after your body when looking to return to training.

Why is recovery so important?

If you want to improve your fitness and performance it is essential to allow your muscle and soft tissues time to repair and strengthen. It takes from 24 – 48 hours for a muscle to repair and rebuild. Working it too soon, and without appropriate recovery techniques in place, will cause the tissue to breakdown instead of build up.

What should I be doing to help my body recover?


Ideally, you will be replacing the fluid you lose during exercise, during your activity, but maintaining high fluid intake following exercise is a simple way to help boost your recovery. Having plenty of of water will improve every bodily function. Dehydration during exercise is often associated with muscle fatigue and a decrease in performance.


All exercise depletes energy stores, so it is important to refuel with the right nutrition if you want your body to repair and recover. Ideally you should eat high-quality protein and carbohydrates within 60 minutes of exercise finishing. In recent years chocolate milk has become a popular post-workout snack due to its protein and carbohydrate content – just make sure it isn’t high in fat! Protein is needed for muscles to build and repair, whilst carbohydrates are needed to stimulate the insulin response (The hormone that prepares muscle cells to absorb protein).


As mentioned earlier, it can take up to 48 hours for a muscle to repair and rebuild. This means that for weight training sessions you should never train the same muscle groups on two consecutive days. This includes getting good sleep- whilst you sleep your body produces Growth Hormone (GH) which plays a large part in tissue growth and repair.


Stretching after excising has been found to help reduce muscle soreness, in addition to reduced lactic build-up and helping heart rate to return to its usual resting rate. Following exercise it is important that muscles are as loose as possible, if they remain tight you are at an increased risk of muscle injury- therefore stretching can help to reduce injury risk.

Active Recovery

Gentle movement on a rest day can have a significant impact upon recovery and how you feel following high intensity exercise. A gentle walk or bike ride improves circulation and increases the rate at which waste products are removed, and nutrients are delivered to relevant parts of the body.

*** These are just generic guidelines, and not intended as a substitute for appropriate medical treatment ***

At HLM Sports Therapy we often have people come to us complaining aches and pains they just can’t seem to shift through recovery alone. This is usually caused by tight muscles and stiff joints which can be treated with mobilisations and deep tissue work, and of course we make sure to remind you about how you can prevent the same thing happening again in the future!

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