Does It Take Longer to Heal As You Get Older? Part I | Total Performance Physical Therapy

Does It Take Longer to Heal As You Get Older? Part I

April 24, 2019

Maybe you noticed it after your last 5k. Perhaps it was after that cycling session at the gym. Or your last Crossfit class. No matter when or where it happened, you’ve probably come to the realization that your body just doesn’t bounce back like it used to. But is it all in your head? Or does it really take more time to recover from injuries as we age?

At Total Performance Physical Therapy, we provide physical therapy for neck pain in Doylestown to help our patients recover from all types of injuries and get them back in the game stronger, better, and faster than they ever were. As we age, it becomes more important than ever to take care of our bodies. Let’s examine how our bodies react to injuries and how aging relates to recovery time.

The Role of Rest, Recovery and Sleep

First, we need to take a look at the importance of recovery and rest time for any athlete, regardless of age. The recovery phase is 

one of the most critical — but overlooked — aspects of training. There’s no doubt that many trainers and coaches firmly believe that it’s just as important as physical exercise itself.

Muscle Breakdown

The process of training typically involves muscle overload, which is followed by muscle adaptation, which then leads to increased fitness levels. But to create these gains, we actually need to b

reak down the muscle (called microtears) for the cells to recover and then grow (known as muscle hypertrophy). Not only that, but exercising also depletes your glycogen and results in fluid loss. Because of all this, adequate recovery time is necessary to replenish your energy stores and repair the damage that’s been done to your tissues.  

Rest and Recovery

Without proper rest and recovery time, the body doesn’t improve — it continues to break down with each intense exercise. Not only can this negate any gains in fitness you’re expecting, but it can also lead to overtraining, causing you to experience symptoms like lethargy, a sharp decrease in sports performance, an increase in your risk of injury, and even depression.

Sleep

Another critical aspect of a proper recovery plan is making sure you’re getting enough sleep. While a night or two of bad sleep won’t necessarily hurt your performance, consistently getting inadequate sleep can affect your hormone levels, especially the ones related to stress, mood, and yes — muscle recovery.

In fact, sleep deprivation leads to an increase of cortisol (your stress hormone) and reduces the activity of your human growth hormone, which plays a significant role in tissue repair. Clearly, getting the right amount of rest and recovery time is vital to your fitness level, physical ability, and even your mental health.

In our next blog, we’ll take a look at why it feels like it takes more time to recover from intense workouts and injuries as we get older. For more information on recovery or physical therapy for your shoulder pain in Doylestown, call us today at 215-703-2529.