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Is there a magic elixir that whisks away soreness and repairs muscles at the speed of light? No, not really (outside illegal PEDS) but there is certainly an overlooked element of recovery that harnesses the innate functions of the body to optimize repair and recovery. To discover the benefits of this element, it’s important to first understand the four stages of recovery.
As you can see, the body needs to move fluids in and out of muscles to facilitate recovery. Repair units in, waste materials out, the release of crucial peptides, and eventually tissue remodeling is the required process to get muscles back to 100 percent.
Muscle activation, or movement, is the secret sauce for each of the four main muscle recovery stages. With a baseline of adequate hydration, nourishment, and rest, muscle activation is the key to regulating proper and prompt adaptation from workouts or stress. Contractions of muscles from movement initiate and accelerate every step along the way.
Muscle repair begins with the oxygen and nutrients being rushed to the damaged site. When skeletal muscles are activated, they send a signal to smooth muscles that surround blood vessels to relax. In turn, blood vessels dilate and circulation increases, increasing nutrients and supplies transported to the tissue.
Unmitigated waste leads to swelling and even more damage than a workout incurs. Removing waste is accomplished via the passive lymphatic system. Unlike the cardiovascular system that is powered by the heart, the lymphatic system requires the contraction of muscles to operate. Each contraction of a muscle squeezes lymphatic vessels that have collected waste, moving the waste away from the area in need of recovery, clearing the way for more nutrient distribution.
Myokines are the proteins in the body that drive tissue regeneration. Muscle activation provides the mechanical stress required to produce myokines so that your damaged tissue can be repaired. Decongestion from waste removal and increased vascular dilation from muscle contractions further improve the effectiveness of the myokines.
What exactly is muscle remodeling? New tissue formation generates a random pattern of muscle fibers and remodeling realigns fibers to slide smoothly past each other. Mechanical stress, or movement, allows the repaired muscle tissue to optimally remodel. Failure to optimally remodel the tissue leads directly to dysfunctional movement.
Movement is a natural facilitator for all four stages of the recovery process. Normal amounts of movement (ie. daily routine, errands, etc.) will contribute to recovery but with minimal effect to rate. If you’re training hard, incorporating movement beyond your routine will have a dramatic effect on how quickly soreness and stiffness are eliminated, your return to top performance, and reducing the possibility of over training.
This is why active recovery is a popular technique for athletes and is proven to be the most effective way to improve recovery. Unfortunately, active recovery can quickly become a workout and further stress already tired muscles. Active recovery may also put undue stress on tendons and joints while burning more precious resources. This is why Marc Pro was created, to radically improve recovery outcomes through muscle contractions without any of the potential risks.
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