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Overtraining: What Is It & Why Is Recovery So Important?

Participating in sports is an excellent way for children and teenagers to stay active, develop discipline, and build friendships. However, it's essential for coaches, athletes, and parents to recognize that overtraining can pose significant short and long-term challenges. Overtraining can lead to exhaustion, injury, and decreased performance. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of athletes spending more time on recovery and smarter training habits.

What is Overtraining?

Overtraining occurs when athletes exercise beyond their body's ability to recover. It can happen due to inadequate rest, too much training, or not enough variety in workouts. Overtraining can cause a range of physical and mental symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Decreased performance

Why is Recovery Important?

Recovery is the process of allowing the body to heal and replenish its energy stores after exercise. Without proper recovery, the body can’t repair muscle tissue, and the athlete's physical and mental performance will suffer. Recovery is essential for the following reasons:

  1. Injury Reduction: Overuse injuries can occur when athletes train too frequently without adequate rest. Recovery allows the body to repair damaged tissue and reduce the risk of injury.

  2. Restores Energy: Exercise depletes the body's energy stores, and recovery allows the body to replenish these stores.

  3. Improves Performance: Recovery allows the body to repair and build stronger muscles, which can improve an athlete's performance.

  4. Reduces Stress: Training can be stressful on the body and mind. Recovery activities, such as stretching and massage, can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

How to Promote Recovery?

As a coach and/or parent, you can help your child prevent overtraining by encouraging them to take time for recovery. Here are some recovery strategies that you can suggest:

  1. Adequate Sleep: Sleep is vital for recovery. Encourage your child to aim for 8-10 hours of sleep per night, and no, going to bed at midnight and sleeping until 8a is not a recommended 8 hours. :) Try to get to bed before 10p to optimize performance and recovery.

  2. Nutrition: Proper nutrition is crucial for recovery. Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

  3. Hydration: Dehydration can increase the risk of injury and decrease performance. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.

  4. Rest Days: Encourage your child to take at least one rest day per week to allow the body to recover.

  5. Active Recovery: Light exercise, can promote recovery by increasing blood flow and reducing muscle soreness. This is a big part of why those who train at our facility often find themselves starting on a bike for their recovery session.

  6. Massage and Stretching: Massage and stretching can help reduce muscle soreness and promote relaxation.

Overtraining can lead to exhaustion, injury, and decreased performance, which has a significant impact on their mental health as well. As a coach and/or parent, it's crucial to encourage your child to incorporate time for recovery; prioritize sleep, nutrition, hydration, rest days, active recovery, in addition to proper stretching. Like and share with anyone you think would find this helpful and email us if you’d like to learn more about smarter recovery training options.

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