RECOVERY FOR MASTERS by Chris Flury, MASTERSCARE.COM Founder
Recovery is an interesting topic given its broad perception. What is recovery? How much recovery is important or necessary? How does a person recover? What actions should we take to facilitate the most effective recovery?
In my opinion, recovery has become one of, if not, the largest factors of my training. While at the CrossFit Games the last two years, I interviewed a lot of Masters athletes for the purpose of finding out what it was they were going to work on after the Games were over and they were back in training mode. The overwhelming responses were an understanding that the ability to recover more efficiently and productively was going to be the greatest focus – not lifting heavier weights, longer endurance or better skills, (although these were still going to be important in their upcoming training, just not the most important).
Whether you are a competitor or fitness athlete, recovery will determine your ability to continue achieving your fitness goals both short and long term. The faster and more productively we can recover, the quicker it will allow us to advance in our goals. Sometimes the notion of “slow down to speed up” becomes the focus of our most productive recovery activities.
My definition of recovery is the ability to return, as quickly as possible, to a healthy, functional state of physical and mental being. Once we have returned to this position, we will be far more productive and effective in our training. Lack of enough proper recovery can lead to injuries and potentially chronic pain, lack of mobility and limited function both physically and mentally. This brings up another form of the recovery topic: recovering while injured. We will be looking into this topic with several of our specialists in the near future.
One mindset to clarify right from the start: recovery in total does not mean “not working out!” “Active” recovery is a vital part of training. At our ages, keeping the body parts pliable and lubricated will enhance our overall functionality and lifestyle. This comes from constant movement, along with diet and sleep. How many times have you done a physical activity and when finished sat or laid down only to find that when you went to get up your body was stiff and sore? Taking a day off from working out should not mean sitting or lying around to recover. Our bodies were built to move. The intensity and activity levels should be adjusted for our bodies to heal while still moving.
Learning to listen to our bodies will give us insight as to what it needs to perform at its best.
In the coming articles, we will be discussing more about the different types and effects of recovery.