Recovery and Hydration

As exercise can cause the body a large amount of stress it is necessary to utilise the right recovery techniques in order to increase performance for the next activity and to prevent damage to the body. These techniques involve either active or passive recovery which is specific to the energy system being used and there are also hydration and dietary techniques used to replenish fuel stores and fluid levels.

Active recovery

  • Typically involves low intensity activities such as slow jogging and stretching and lasts around 5-10 minutes. It is useful for EPOC as it helps to accelerate the removal of harmful metabolic by-products such as hydrogen ions and inorganic phosphate. It is also beneficial in preventing venus pooling which is the accumulation of blood in areas within the muscle and can cause damage if not removed. Active recovery helps remove pooling blood as it keeps the muscles contracting helping the veins in returning blood back to the heart.
  • Active recovery is usually used for events in which the predominant energy systems were either the anaerobic glycolysis or aerobic energy system.

Passive Recovery

  • Typically involves lying down or sitting down. Sleep is also a type of passive recovery. Passive recovery is vital for repairing muscles and for restoring bodily systems back to normal levels however it will not accelerate the rate at which harmful metabolic by-products are already removed.
  • It is usually used for activities in which the ATP-CP system was used as after 3 minutes of passive recovery nearly all of creatine phosphate (CP) stores will be restored.

Replenishment of Fuels

Creatine phosphate stores

Oxygen can be used to replenish creatine phosphate stores and they are generally restored almost completely within 3 minutes of passive recovery.

Glycogen stores

Glycogen replenishment may take as long as 24-48 hours to fully replenish stores within the muscles depending on the activity undertaken. A variety of high carbohydrate rich foods should be eaten to restore fuels. There is also the vital period for glycogen replenishment which occurs within the first 15 minutes post exercise. Over the next 2 hours after that high GI foods should still continue to be consumed every 15 minutes or so.

Protein intake

Protein is vital for helping muscles to recover from exercise and is used in increasing muscle size. Protein also helps the body’s ability to replenish glycogen stores therefore should be taken within 2 hours post exercise in combination with glycogen.

Replenishment of Fluids

When the body participates in exercise it produces heat this heat increase needs to be reduced and can be done so by bodily mechanisms such as sweating. Sweating results in a loss of body fluid which not only includes water but also salts. A large loss of bodily fluids can result in dehydration which can lead to fatigue. There are also types of sports drinks that are mixed with salts so that both water and salts can be replenished.

Hypertonic sports drinks

Contain a high amount of salts. These are usually a lot higher than the body’s normal levels.An example includes, powerade.

Isotonic drinks

Contain even amounts of salts and water, containing them in the same concentrations as the body.

Hypotonic sports drinks

contain high amounts of water and low amounts of salts, containing higher concentrations of water than in the water.

For more information on Sports drinks and recovery refer to the other wiki pages located in Unit 4 area of study 1.