Special Note: Recovery is one of the most dynamic and evolving areas in Sports Science. New discoveries and studies are coming out every day. This post outlines what is good practice as per the current understandings.
As dragon boaters we put in quite intense sessions during training and especially on race day.
Some may believe that when they step out of the boat they are now fitter than they were before the session.
This is not true.
If anything, we could say that they are in slightly worse condition than they were before starting the session.
Naomi Albertson, physician at the Reno Orthopaedic Clinic explains:
“Exercise causes muscle injury. Muscle adapts to regular exercise but some muscle damage still occurs.”
What is Recovery?
Once again, Naomi summarises recovery in the following simple statement:
“Athletic recovery is a normal cellular process that allows injured cells to recover and repair.”
Here is what I tell my crews:
“Exercise puts your body under stress. Recovery is what makes your body fitter to better handle that stress next time. Do your recovery correctly and you will maximise your increase in fitness after exercise and it will happen quicker.”
How long does recovery take?
If recovery is what makes us fitter, how long do we need to recover for to maximise our fitness improvement?
The time it takes to recover depends on three things:
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