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The amount of time needed to recover after a workout can be directly correlated to its duration and intensity. It’s an important aspect of exercise that many people allow to fall by the wayside which can seriously hinder progress. Rest after working out allows the body to destress, and adapt over time. Much like a rubber band, if something is under continuous stress without being given time to recover, it can weaken or break. With that said, understand the types of recoveries that work best for you and your workout routine.

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to require an adequate recovery time after exercise, and as such, a mindset like that can be very dangerous. Granted, higher levels of intensity when working out demand longer, consistent periods of recovery, but a normal individual who runs a few miles every week is still at risk of injury if he or she does not rest effectively afterward.

The risk of injury can increase dramatically when we don’t recover after exercise, with bones and muscles suffering the worst. From ligament tears to stress fractures, the buildup of lactic acid that occurs during a workout must be lowered afterward. The types of recovery that can prevent this can be anything from sleep to proper nutrition, but, again, the most effective methods depend on how you workout, including the duration, intensity, and frequency.

Foam rolling is a fairly new technique used as an alternative to stretching, seeing as recent studies have found that stretching doesn’t work quite as how we thought it did. By using some type of tube or pipe (preferably a rolled-up yoga mat), you can roll out your muscles, pushing the lactic acid out and compressing the tissue. This can even lengthen the muscles, which is great for those looking to increase body mass.

Though it is a little more complex compared to other recovery treatments, cryotherapy is great for those who exercise much more frequently and at a much higher level of intensity than others. Chambers at cryotherapy centers may be hard to come by, so simply taking an ice bath is an easy way to experience the benefits of this workout recovery method. Our bodies are prone to inflammation during and after exercise, and one of the most effective ways to prevent and combat that is exposing your muscles and joints to extreme colds. While researchers continue to debate whether or not this method is actually helpful, athletes have seen success in cryotherapy.

Perhaps the most obvious form of recovery, sleep is essential for everybody, whether you are running a marathon or lightly lifting weights. Getting 8 hours of sleep is ideal, but fairly difficult when considering how busy our schedules tend to be. Establish a bedtime that works best for your lifestyle to keep your internal clock on schedule. Our bodies are able to recover, reduce inflammation, and even burn calories when in a deep state of sleep.