Recovery, Part one: Why we need it
Now, onto the topic of the day. Recovery. In most people's minds, there are likely two situations when we think recovery is needed. First, after illness, surgery or injury. Second, after a really hard workout. Recovery is absolutely necessary in each of these, but another situation bares some consideration...your daily life.
Do you know that many of the things we do everyday require recovery from our bodies? Consider a normal day to some. You wake tired because you didn't get quite enough sleep the night before. You drink too many cups of coffee and add in something sweet to boost your energy. You sit at your desk for the majority of the day. You engage in a stressful email exchange. You skip your workout because, well, it's been a crappy day. You pick-up some drive-thru on the way home and finish the night with a few glasses of wine. You go the bed and start all over the next day. Perhaps this is an exaggeration of a particularly crappy day, but most of us can find at least one thing in that scenario that fits our lives.
Every single act that I mentioned in that day requires a certain bit of recovery from our bodies.
Not getting enough sleep (which is coincidentally when we recover the most) lessens amount of time our bodies have to recover. Not sleeping enough also causes more stress for our bodies.
Caffeine and sugar stimulate cortisol and insulin release when what we want is our bodies to release those hormones more naturally.
Prolonged sitting increases our risk for all causes of mortality.
Not only does caffeine boost cortisol, but so does stress. In some cases, that's good. Cortisol does serve many important purposes in the body (like the fight or flight response). But chronic stress leads to chronically high cortisol, which leads to symptoms like anxiety, weight gain (especially in your mid-section), and overall not feeling like yourself.
Skipping your workout may seem like a good idea, but exercise is vital for stress management, maintaining a healthy body composition, and very helpful for managing a healthy outlook on life.
Fast food is almost exclusively composed from nutrient-poor, calorie-rich foods. Not only do our bodies have to work harder digesting and detoxifying from those foods, when it's time to build new tissue and repair, those are crappy building blocks we are providing.
Finally, there is plenty of evidence that drinking wine can provide health benefits, but any of us who have had a "few too many" knows what that recovery feels like. We all metabolize alcohol differently. If even one makes you feel lousy, then your body is working extra hard to recover from that as well.
I want to encourage everyone I come in contact with to take care of themselves a little better than they did the day before. The practices that we engage in to take care of ourselves are the framework for our recovery. In Part two, I'll share my protocol for daily recovery.