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How to Recover from Trauma

The Dublin City Marathon is over for another year. It is now time to invest in our bodies in a different way – recovery.

Hang the running shoes up and move simply. Recovery is paramount to the longevity of the body in optimal health. Intense exercise, such as marathon training, is traumatic for the body. Intense exercise is exercise that the body is unaccustomed to or doesn’t have the energy stores to support. Prolonged adrenaline release in the body, over several miles, is an unnatural state for the body to be in, causing us to mouth breathe. Mouth breathing causes the release of adrenaline. Chronic mouth breathing involves a slack jaw with inhalations through the mouth. This process disrupts the cellular chemistry of the body and prolonged adrenaline release is always detrimental. As a result, our bodies become acidic and stressed. This makes our recovery more difficult and lengthier, leaving us with a compromised physiology known as exercise induced acidosis. Acidosis is an overly acidic state of the blood. This can lead to compromised health and physical function.

Recovery involves the return to an alkaline state and is achieved in the following ways.

1. We need to reshape the muscle cell.

During intense exercise, some muscle cells are destroyed and others become misshapen. Reshaping the cell is vitally important and can be done through fascial stretching and mobility exercises. Failure to stretch will cause the body to function and recover sub-optimally. Stretching the fascia and the muscle will release the tension within the body and aid in the return of normal muscle shape. The cell can be stretched through yoga postures, pilates and or prescribed movements. Why is this important? When the fascia is too tight, it negatively affects the shape of the muscle, and then the proper nourishment of the muscle is not possible. Once the proper shape returns to our body, it changes from being in a state of metabolic shock or survival mode, to working more efficiently.

2. Learning to nose breathe.

Another way to alkalise the body is to correct our breathing pattern. The only time we need to mouth breathe in place of nose breathing is when we need to access a temporary energy store and require an increased metabolic state. Adrenaline gives us more energy in a short space of time. It is our ‘fight or flight’ hormone. It is detrimental for us to remain in this ‘fight or flight’ state so nose breathing is our preferred breathing pattern. Nose breathing involves deep inhalations through the nose, relaxing the abdomen and filling our lungs to capacity (breathe in through the nose, stomach out). It is important to breathe out through the nose too. This will help us to decrease adrenalin following intense exercise, making the body less acidic/more alkaline.

3. Rehydrate the body

Rehydration is an essential part of recovery. Ideally, we should consume liquids that are at a pH of seven or more. These are alkaline fluids that will help us to reach a state of ease once again. Living water is best to hydrate the human body, both during and following exercise.

In addition, proper nutrition and adequate sleep are paramount to expedite recovery.


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