4 ways to recover, reduce soreness, and avoid injury

Contrary to popular belief, more exercise (especially high-intensity exercise) is not always better; inappropriately intense workouts can be a recipe for decreased motivation, at best, and injury, at worst.

Now, I am not arguing that being sore or working hard is always a bad thing.

However, a “hard” workout should always be appropriate to YOUR fitness level and appropriate recovery is a must; a “when” not an “if.”

Embrace that daily motion is a non-negotiable (a main tenet of my fitness philosophy), but reframe what you consider motion: motion does not have to be a six-mile run. Your routine has to match your injury history, your goals, your health history, and your lifestyle realities.

Exercise (especially high-impact activities like running) stresses the body. Exercise is only a positive stress if you give your body the ingredients it needs to recover. The harder you train the harder you have to recover! Recovery allows the body to become stronger, leaner, and generally healthier. Being under-recovered is just as bad as being under-trained; being under-recovered leads to exhaustion, lethargy, muscle aches, trigger points, and stiffness, and left long enough it will lead to injury.

The main take-away is that you need to make daily motion a non-negotiable, but broaden what you define as “motion” — you don’t have to go to the gym to be active.

Embrace the critical importance of well-placed recovery workouts, positive sleep hygiene, and a nutritious diet.


Your body recovers while you sleep, and a healthy diet helps your muscles and connective tissue repair and become stronger. Need another reason to prioritize your sleep? A good night’s rest helps control your weight. The less you sleep, the more ghrelin hormone your body produces, which means your appetite will increase. You will also produce less leptin, which is the hormone that helps your body feel satiated.


A “recovery workout” includes light cardio (light swimming, walking, etc., to promote circulation and mobility, and decrease excessive inactivity and sitting), stretching, or “body work” using a foam roller or yoga tune-up balls!


Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Lower-leg relief with the foam roller. Sit on the floor with the foam roller under your calves, perpendicular to your body. Lift your bum slightly off the ground. Roll yourself forward and backward so the roller moves up and down your lower legs. Experiment. Rotate your legs side to side slightly as you move.
  • Treat your feet. Place a ball (lacrosse, tennis, or yoga tune-up ball) under the ball of your little toe. Roll it lengthwise up and down the outside of your foot between the little toe and the heel. Now, move it under the ball of the big toe. Roll it lengthwise up and down the inside of your foot between the big toe and the heel. Finally, curl all your toes around the ball. Release and spread your toes.
  • Upper-back, chest, shoulder, and neck relief. Start on the floor with your bum on the ground and the foam roller under your upper back, perpendicular to your body, head resting in your hands. Lift your hips up. Roll your body forward and backward so the roller moves up and down your back. Keep your core engaged. Now, turn your body sideways as you move so that the roll massages under your armpit and down the side of your body.

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