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What Is The Difference Between Recovery And Adaptation?

Updated: Apr 11, 2023


If you're recovering from an injury or just trying to get back into your regular routine, the road to recovery can seem a little uncertain. On one hand, you want to feel better - after all, being injured is no fun! But on the other hand, maybe it's also important for you to get out there and do what you love?


We understand the significance of recovery. It's our way of returning to baseline performance after an intense workout or injury. Unfortunately, it often takes more time for our bodies to fully recover - sometimes longer than anticipated!


Recovery and adaptation are two distinct concepts, often used interchangeably but not the same thing. Recovery refers to the acute restoration of performance capacity (short term), while adaptation refers to changes that take place over time such as improvements in muscle capacity or cardiovascular system function.


Over the past few years, studies have demonstrated that what may be beneficial for short-term recovery may not necessarily lead to long-term adaptation.

Let me give you an example: icing the area may help reduce inflammation and soothe soreness by taking away the signal of pain, but in the long run it could reduce adaptation by delaying healing since inflammation plays a vital role in recovery (Wang & Ni, 2021).



Work Cited:


Jeukendrup, A. (2015). Rapid recovery versus long-term adaptation. Retrieved from: http://www.mysportscience.com/.../Rapid-recovery-versus...

Wang, Z. R., & Ni, G. X. (2021, June 16). Is it time to put traditional cold therapy in rehabilitation of soft-tissue injuries out to pasture? Retrieved from National Center for Biotechnology Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8173427/....

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