I've been a gym rat since my early 20s, and it's one habit that continues to be of importance to my overall wellbeing, especially as I get older. Now that I am in my mid-40s, my workouts have started to take a toll on me and recovery isn't what it used to be.
I've had to make a few tweaks to my routine to ensure I'm not over-training, which I had a tendency to do. My lengthy workout sessions of weight training and running was perfectly fine in my 20s and 30s, but in my 40s, I've had to cut back as it was getting hard to get out of bed in the morning after a hard training session.
How do you know you're overdoing it? Extreme fatigue. Exercise should energize and uplift you, even when you feel unmotivated at the beginning of your sweat session. Here are seven ways I've learned to recover naturally from exercise now that I'm older:
1. Reduce exercise time.
Exercise increases cortisol, and as you get older it can have implications surrounding your metabolism, not to mention adrenals. Now, instead of an hours-long gym session, I do 20 minutes of resistance training, followed by a 20-minute run and that's it.
2. Focus on macronutrients.
Eat to replenish after a workout and throughout the day. Ensure you're getting the right ratio of carbs to protein to fat for your diet and fitness goals.
3. Add more recovery days.
I used to work out 5-6 days per week. Now, it's every other day to ensure I get a day to properly recover from my workouts. On off days, I do yoga or foam rolling to stretch my muscles, helping to further recovery.
4. Eat and drink natural anti-inflammatories.
A potent natural anti-inflammatory is turmeric. Fruits high in antioxidants and flavonoids like blueberries and cherries are great natural anti-inflammatories as well. Juice it all for speedy recovery.
5. Look into supplements.
Supplements like Theracurmin contain a high bioavailable form of curcumin, which is the anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric. It has helped to relieve my tennis elbow, which developed oddly enough from the repetitive movements of weight training.
6. Rest, rest and rest some more.
Practice relaxation via mediation, yoga and mindfulness. It goes without saying, for faster recovery and optimal health, go to bed early to get more sleep and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.