Why does recovery take longer as you age?
Surprisingly, researchers don’t actually know for certain the answer to this question. They do, however, have some theories:
- Increased inflammatory response: When you get injured, inflammatory cells build up in the damaged muscle. For quick recovery, it seems the balance of these cells must be right — there can’t be too few or too many. When you are older, you tend to accumulate more inflammatory cells, which could put the balance out of kilter.
- Exhausted cells: Muscle stem cells also help with muscle recovery. When you get injured, they reproduce, and there could be a limit to how often they can do so.
- Low testosterone: It is thought that testosterone plays a part in muscle recovery. Though not inevitable, levels often decrease as we age.
Tips for faster recovery
Okay, so the question is this: What can you do to recover faster after exercise? Here are some suggestions:
- Stretch afterwards: When you exercise, lactic acid builds up in your muscles, which can lead to soreness and fatigue. By stretching after exercise, you increase your blood circulation, which can reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
- Exercise less: This may sound defeatist, but exercise boosts cortisol, which as you age, can affect your metabolism and adrenal glands. So, instead of doing punishing hour-long gym sessions, maybe take things a bit easier. Also, if you exercise often, take an extra day off.
- Focus on macronutrients: Macronutrients are necessary for energy and growth, and there are three kinds: carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fat) and proteins. Eat after your workout and during the day to ensure your body receives the correct proportion of macronutrients to meet your fitness goals.
- Consume natural anti-inflammatories: Green leafy vegetables, blueberries, pineapple., salmon and walnuts are great natural anti-inflammatories.
How compression wear helps recovery
Another way to speed up recovery is to wear compression clothing. “What is this?” you may ask. Well, professional athletes wear compression clothing all the time, and it can come in the form of socks, calf sleeves and arm sleeves.
Compression wear works by adding pressure to the veins in your arms and legs. This pressure increases your blood flow and, in turn, removes lactic acid (which causes your muscles to burn during exercise) from your bloodstream faster.
The best compression wear uses, what is known as, graduated compression. This means that the pressure is greatest at the lower part of your leg or arm and least further up, which is necessary for facilitating free movement.
With age comes wisdom, so utilise every tip and trick you can find to help with recovery, so you can get back to doing what you love.
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This content is provided by TXG for information purposes only. We advise anyone interested in this subject to seek qualified professional advice.