This week is all about recovery for me. That doesn’t mean I’m just lying around all day with my feet up. I’m doing active recovery.
After the race, I iced my tired, sore feet and legs. I took a warm shower, put on some comfy clothes and crawled into bed. I sat in bed with my feet propped up and ate a little food and drank a beer. Then I went to sleep.
The next day I drove 5 hours home. Being in the car for so long made all my muscles stiffen up. But once I was home, I put on my hiking boots and headed into the woods. I didn’t go far and I didn’t go fast. I walked for about a half hour. In the days since then, I’ve tried to do a little walk each day. Today I went for an easy 2-mile run.
It’s so tempting, when we’ve overused muscles, to to nothing. Moving hurts, so we don’t want to move. But not moving just prolongs recovery, making it that much harder to get back to normal.
Our muscles recover much faster when we continue to use them. Moving keeps things from tightening up even more. Moving gets blood flowing to the muscles. Moving helps to move any fluid from swelling out. Moving is good!
There’s a reason why nurses make patients get up and move so soon after surgery. Moving gets all your body systems functioning again. It keeps your muscles from getting weak, thereby limiting your mobility even more. It helps clear your lungs.
I remember after my 10+ hr. mastectomy & reconstruction, with massive incisions everywhere, how I was quite convinced that my nurse was evil – literally evil – when she made me sit up and move to a chair. But she was right – it helped. I recovered remarkably quickly: my lungs were clear, my head was clear, I quickly regained my balance and strength.
Those nurses, they’re on to something.
Whether you’re recovering from over-exertion, surgery, or some types of injury, recover by moving. OK, a serious injury where you’ve broken or torn something does not apply. If your doctor tells you to stay off your feet or not to move something, do what she tells you!
But the rest of us, move to recover.