Rest and recovery for walkers
In the process of any exercise, whether it's walking, scrambling, trekking or training, your body is put under physical stress. This stress is essential if you are to improve your strength, stamina, speed or suppleness (the key components of fitness), but recovery is needed as 'down time' for your body to restore and repair itself in order to cope with such stresses again in the future. This makes recovery time absolutely vital for improvement.
Recovery time is absolutely vital for improvement
Rest and recovery is not an exact science, especially where mountaineering is involved. However, if you follow a training plan and enjoy a couple of fulfilling days on the hill at weekends then a rough guide would be at least one day of rest per week. That means a rest away from physical exertion. If you run, walk or cycle in order to train for endurance then also take a day of.
If you have had a long mountain day, then start recovery immediately. Slow down towards the end (just like warming down after training). Spend time stretching your major muscles before getting into the car (this will aid recovery). Have fluid and food as soon as possible (to aid your muscle recovery and rebalance your energy levels).
By following these simple steps you will be helping yourself get over the 'Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)' syndrome
By following these simple steps you will be helping yourself get over the 'Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)' syndrome. This is the muscle fibres' initial stage of repairing after exercise. It is characterised by stiffness and tenderness, usually about 48 hours after exercise. It is more common in the early stages of training and as you get fitter it will decrease.
If you do overdo your training or number of days on the mountain then you may well experience some over training symptoms, which are typically:
Make sure you get regular R & R to help your fitness grow for the mountain
- Not sleeping well
- Elevated heart rate
- Persistent aching
- More susceptibility to colds and illness
- General irritability
If you recognise that you have some of symptoms then your body and mind most probably need some down time! Make sure you have a regular break from your active lifestyle and get some R & R to help your body and fitness grow for the mountain.
Jas is a self-employed outdoor instructor and sports coach, specialising in mountaineering, ski touring, sea & white-water kayaking. He worked at Glenmore Lodge for 15 years, coached for the Highland Institute of Sport, lectured for Sportscoach UK and was training officer for the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue team. He is a highly qualified Mountaineering Instructor, ski instructor and kayak coach.
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