Here’s another fascinating article from the Berkeley Wellness Newsletter: “Do Older People Need Longer to Recover from Exercise?”
Muscles, in general, take time to recover from exercise. There’s the immediate recovery that begins as soon as the exercise ends, and then there’s a period of slower recovery continuing through the next several days. At any age, “Inadequate recovery can blunt the training effect on muscles as well as increase the risk of injury during a subsequent workout.” The article suggests that giving muscles “a day off” between workouts is beneficial and can be achieved by varying the exercise routine from, for example, upper to lower body, or strength to cardio.
Regardless of what you call “older” and what you call “exercise,” the article suggests that most conclusions related to age and exercise recovery are based on quite limited research and on the evidence of self-reporting.
The part of the article that I found most interesting was the benefit to older athletes of consuming extra protein after exercising – with an emphasis on high-quality protein. “Low-fat dairy, such as yogurt and milk, is a high-quality protein source, as are eggs, nuts, peanut butter, soy, fish, and chicken.” The amount of protein varies depending on the exercise level: serious/master athletes might benefit from two to three times as much protein as recreational exercisers.
Sounds like a good prescription to me. Hand me the yogurt!