Lifestyle Hacks for Recovery
Fitness is built during recovery. With intense drive, work ethic, and go-getter attitudes, runners tragically miss out on maximizing their work with the crucial component of recovery. In this article we will suggest some easy lifestyle hacks for recovery.
We recently had AnnMarie Kirkpatrick on the A to Z Running Podcast. You can catch the episode HERE.
AnnMarie had mentioned that when she wasn’t running, she was recovering. Being a mom working as an outdoor adventure guide, and training as an elite marathoner, she has found ways to fit in recovery.
With most of us being time poor it is important to sneak in recovery when we can. In this article we will first talk about what our body needs to recover and why, and then we will talk about how you can do something for your recovery all day and night long.
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Lifestyle hacks that take ZERO extra time and ZERO energy
Not having the time is no longer an excuse now that you are equipped with these recovery hacks! We can all create habits with these hacks that will help us THRIVE as runners (that’s the A to Z Running mission after all). These are the best hacks, right? The ones that you can add into your life without anything extra required of you! No excuses!
Properly executing our training & knowing how/when to modify
Many of us delay our recovery by running our easy runs too hard. When you know the purpose of your runs (like we talked about HERE on the podcast), you can start utilizing your training to serve your work better through active recovery.
You’re going to choose a pair of socks to wear anyway, why not boost your recovery with compression? (Check out the most affordable pair on the market, SB SOX) If you wear heels for work, consider wearing hidden calves sleeves.
Not all drinks are created equal. You can technically hydrate with coffee and soda, but it is not the most efficient and effective way to aid in your recovery. Drinking water, vitamin drinks, or Nuun will better serve you.
Lifestyle hacks that take ZERO time and MINIMAL energy
Maximize time waiting at an airport, in a line, or waiting for someone. On the podcast, AnnMarie suggested using waiting time to benefit her body’s recovery. It’s not always easy to let go of what others might think, but this is a valuable time you can win back to benefit yourself. Fight the urge to get on your phone, and instead use the time for some dynamic stretching. This will be a difficult habit to form, since it will likely take breaking another habit to form the new one.
BONUS TIP: Always wear clothes you can mobilize in. More and more brands are creating flexible business wear. You don’t need to be wearing running or athletic attire anymore to be flexible!
Put your legs up a wall while you’re on your phone
So instead of perusing social media or news when you are in line, do it when you are putting your legs up. Why put your legs up? You drain the blood from your legs back to your heart to help flush new oxygen rich blood to your legs speeding up the recovery process.
Roll your feet while sitting at your desk or dinner table
Now taking off your shoes at work if you have a desk job may not be the most considerate idea, but if you are working from home or have a generous space at work, this is a great way to aid in your foot health without costing you any extra time. We recommend the Orb mini, a golf ball, or Sidekick Tool Fuse (link gives you 15% off).
Here are some great TV time ideas
+ Mobility/stretching (learn how to mobilize best HERE)
+ Scrapping (here is a link for an exclusive discount of 15% off applied at checkout for SideKick Tools scrapers which are the best on the market).
Lifestyle hacks that takes MINIMAL time and ZERO energy
The science cannot be disputed that sleep is a major benefactor to recovery. According to Life of an Athlete, Sleep and Recovery Research,
“The majority of muscle repair and growth occurs during sleep when hormones are released. Without adequate sleep, muscle gain is greatly diminished.”
This same study also suggests eating bananas, yogurt, milk, rice, grapefruit, kiwis, oats, turkey, cherries, walnuts and almonds can help with your sleep. These foods aid in falling asleep because they contain contains trytophan or melatonin.
Hot baths help to aid in better sleep as and can help relax you and improve your mood. Hot baths more importantly are a great way to loosen muscles and improve blood flow and also helps sore and tight muscles relax.
Ice baths constrict your capillaries pushing the blood out, encouraging new blood flow to your taxed and tired legs.
Heat and ice together can be a very beneficial combination.
If you hire a massage therapist, this is a no-energy way to recover and is worth the investment of time and money.
Cooking with recovery in mind (zero extra energy- assuming you’re making food anyway)
Check out this article, Healing Food for the Hungry Runner. In it, we give suggestions for recovery food, why they help, and ways to eat them. Some recovery foods include:
+Tart cherries (we’ve been adding this tart cherry juice to our drinks and food)
Chelsea from maesmenu.com also gave A to Z Running tips for busy runners to cook more healthily HERE.
Eating within 30 minutes of exercise
Eat 3:1 carbs to protein.
Chocolate milk has been known to achieve this ratio. Zach uses a drink called, “Rebound”. I personally like to eat my recovery and will eat a protein cookie (I also have a sweet tooth).
We will dive into the reasons more scientifically soon on the A to Z Running Podcast, but here are some of the vitamins and minerals to look for:
(There are others, but the ones mentioned above are key for most runners.)
A Recovery Lifestyle
If we understand what our goals are for recovery, the path to creating a better lifestyle will come with greater commitment and ease. When we know a thing is helping us, it can become less of a burden. In the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, one of the habits is “Begin with the End in Mind.” This habit is helpful through all of life including our views and disciplines in the area of recovery.
These lifestyle hacks were designed to help you gain the benefits of your work with minimal exertion as we know your training in the midst of a full life may already be requiring a lot of energy.
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