Training, Muscles, Arms, Blonde
Strengthening our muscles requires more than just varying our exercise routines. Maintaining and increasing our strength  requires that our muscles recover from a tough workout.  Recovery from a tough workout is all about getting the right combination of rest and movement to circulate blood, yet  not so much activity that we are implementing  a new challenge to the body. Below are three interesting ways to let your body rest so you may become stronger.

1. Hot-Cold Therapy

Seaside, Hot Tub, Beachfront, Oceanview, Relaxing, Pool

 Hot-cold contrast therapy is a method for rapidly flushing blood through the body. This is because immersion in cold water removes blood quickly from the limbs (and carries waste products from training away along with it) and immersion in warm water brings new blood back in.  This accelerates the circulation of blood through the body. The problem is that most people have neither the means to access hot/cold baths nor the desire to do these types of regimens.  Fortunately, there is a way to get the benefit of hot-cold contrast treatments for specific parts of the body. You’ll  just need a good old-fashioned hot water bottle and wet washcloths.
  1. Put the washcloths in the freezer until they are frozen. Hang them on the door of your freezer so it freezes flat or place open flat on the racks.
  2. Once the cloths are frozen, put hot water in the hot water bottle
  3. Place the frozen cloth on or around your desired area of treatment for five to eight minutes
  4. Put the used frozen cloth back in the freezer and put the hot water bottle on your body part for five to eight minutes.
  5. Place the second frozen cloth on or around your desired area of treatment for five to eight minutes.
  6. Repeat step 4 and keep switching the cloths back and forth for several cyles.

 3. Sleep – No Guilt

Breakfast In Bed, Bed, Bedroom, Tray

During sleep our  body releases hormones designed to enhance our ability to recover from work. People vary in how much sleep they need, but research suggest that most of us require 7-8 hours of sleep. When I am in training for more vigorous tennis play and have a particularly hard day/week of training I love to sleep 9-10 hours! I know it’s not too cool to admit I enjoy sleeping this much, but it’s how my body recovers best.

For those who can’t seem to get to bed early enough to get the required amount of sleep, know that contrary to popular belief,  you do not need to get all of your sleep in dose.  What seems to matter as much for health and recovery as the total amount of sleep is the number hours of continuous wakefulness. Meaning, if you’re up for a high number of hours continuously, your body will be less than pleased. I love this as naps are my favorite pastime on the weekends after long  hours on the tennis courts. Tip: Have no guilt for sleeping and utilize nap time as a way to get in your required sleep amount that is perfect for you.

3. Move and Have Fun/Enjoy

Park, Path, Road, Bench, People, Walking

Movement brings blood flow for healing. But do not think of movement in the traditional sense such as, in a gym; And do not think of healing as in the case of  injury. Rather, think of  “fun recovery” from a good workout as healing the body and soul so that you may recover and get even stronger!  Fun movement that you enjoy doing and that is not  too physically demanding actually helps healing while immobility usually prolongs recovery and delays healing.  Think fun. Think enjoyment.  For me that means being outside riding bikes, walking with my husband, walking with the pups, or tossing a  frisbee on the beach! And what about you? I would love to know!