Saturday, December 5, 2009

Round 2 / Day 20: Rest & Recovery (& Plagiarism)

It's my scheduled rest day, and although I'd planned on popping in the Insanity Cardio Recovery DVD this morning, I think my body (and brain) would appreciate it if I just took a day off.

But even though I know that it's good for me, it feels a little overindulgent to just sit on my ass. I decided to go online to find a good article or blog post about the benefits of rest and recovery to help alleviate my guilt.

I soon came across a thoughtful, informative article on this topic by Elizabeth Quinn, an exercise physiologist and author. Citing several research journals as sources, Quinn sets forth the case for recovery time:
[T]his is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss.
Recovery time allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. Symptoms of overtraining often occur from a lack of recovery time. Signs of overtraining include a feeling of general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and increased risk of injury, among others.
Quinn also briefly summarizes the differences between short-term and long-term recovery:
Keep in mind that there are two categories of recovery. There is immediate (short-term) recovery from a particularly intense training session or event, and there is the long-term recovery that needs to be build into a year-round training schedule. Both are important for optimal sports performance.
Short-term recovery, sometimes called active recovery occurs in the hours immediately after intense exercise. Active recovery refers to engaging in low-intensity exercise after workouts during both the cool-down phase immediately after a hard effort or workout as well as during the days following the workout. Both types of active recovery are linked to performance benefits.
Long-term recovery techniques refer to those that are built in to a seasonal training program. Most well-designed training schedules will include recovery days and or weeks that are built into an annual training schedule. This is also the reason athletes and coaches change their training program throughout the year, add crosstraining, modify workouts types, and make changes in intensity, time, distance and all the other training variables.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who enjoyed Quinn's article. As I kept searching on Google for more information about rest and recovery, I quickly found numerous bloggers and other authors that have directly lifted Quinn's text -- in whole or in chunks -- and presented her writing as their own. I found only one blog that properly credited Quinn as the author of the original piece; others appear to be perfectly happy taking credit for her writing. (Examples are here and here and here and here and here.)

I know that generating original content can be difficult, and plagiarism is easy. But in the age of Google, it's also easy to catch. So play nice, and give credit where credit is due.