Many Americans equate exercise with pain — they want to “feel the burn” because “there’s no gain without pain.” But when it comes to gaining muscle, rest is just as important as repetition.
Exercise causes small tears in muscle fibers. During rest, the body works to repair those muscles, building them back stronger than they were.
Experienced athletes know the value of structured rest — many strive to help their muscles build back as fast as possible, so they can move on to harder, longer and more challenging workouts. But even casual athletes and weekend warriors can takes steps towards smarter rest. The experts at W.F. Young, Inc., the company that makes Absorbine Jr. pain relieving liquid, offers the following tips:
• Start slow. Many people make the mistake of trying to do too much too fast. If you haven’t participated in an activity for a while, ease yourself in — start with a moderate 15 to 30 minutes of activity, and increase duration and intensity by no more than 10 percent each week. Vary your workouts so you give each muscle group one to three days of rest, depending on your fitness level.
• Fuel yourself. Prior to a workout, your body needs carbohydrates, so snack on fruit or oats. Consuming an energy drink or bar during long workouts can help boost your muscles’ glycogen, or energy stores, so you won’t feel as sore post-workout.
For approximately two hours after exercise, your body can synthesize carbohydrates and protein faster than normal, so make sure you eat healthy carbohydrates and protein soon after exercise. Good choices include toast with fruit or a whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter.
• Soothe your muscles. If your muscles are sore after exercise, use heat, massage and gentle stretching to increase circulation and promote healing. Use Absorbine Jr. pre- or post-workout for added relief – the fast-absorbing, pain relieving liquid uses botanical extracts to soothe aches, pains and strains, so you’ll be ready for your next workout in no time.
• Embrace active recovery. Your muscles need rest — but rest can mean a brisk walk or a slow bike ride. In fact, gently exercising during a rest day can increase blood flow to sore areas, helping muscles recover more quickly than a few hours spent vegging on the couch.