We all know that exercise is good for you. But to get the most out of your fitness workout, pay attention to the time after your run, walk, bike ride, or trip to the gym. How you recover from your exercise helps determine how your muscles feel from day to day, and how strong you’ll feel during your next session.
Stretching is therapy for the muscles, keeping them pliable between workouts. It can help ease tension so you’re less sore following vigorous exercise. Taking a moment to stretch also makes you more flexible over time, which means you can go deeper into those squats or nail that favorite yoga pose.
If you’re stuck for time, remember stretches can happen almost anywhere. You can do deep bends before changing out of your workout clothes or arm stretches before getting into your car to head to work.
During a tough workout, your muscles are under a lot of strain. That means they’ve taken a beating and need time to repair themselves. Running Magazine recommends fueling up on carbs within 30 minutes after your workout to give your body what it needs to stay healthy. You can focus on protein a bit later, 2 to 3 hours after your session.
Depending on your personal goals, you may want to take vitamins or supplements to help in recovery. Always run these plans by your doctor.
Hydration not only makes you feel better; it aids performance. According to Muscle & Fitness magazine, just one percent dehydration leads to 10 percent reduction in strength. Water after a workout helps get rid of toxins, so you can feel more rested and relaxed in the following days. You can also keep a water bottle at your desk, so you remember to get the hydration you need throughout the day.
After a tough workout, you might want to do nothing more than sit on the couch or take a snooze. But staying moderately active improves blood flow, which aids muscle recovery. If you go to the gym before work, consider getting in a few walks around the cubicle instead of sitting down in front of your screen. You can also try a standing desk to keep your body engaged. It can help ease the transition from hard workout to rest time.
You don’t have to rush to a therapist to get the benefit of a post-workout massage, although it’s a pretty great idea if you can swing it. Simply using a foam roller for a few minutes can loosen knots and lengthen muscles. Combine it with your stretching routine to kickstart the recovery process.
Everyone needs sleep, but it is particularly important for active people. This period of (ideally) seven to nine hours a night is when your body does its greatest recovery work. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, try strategies that help you to hit the pillow earlier and longer. Turn off your smartphone long before bedtime, limit stimulants, and engage in mindfulness tactics like deep breathing in order to get healthy rest.
Recovery after a workout is about giving your body the tools it needs to function at its best. By taking the time to nourish and support your muscles after a session, you can make it easier to progress in your fitness goals. You’ll see the results in how you look and how you feel.
What workout recovery tactics work for you? Comment below or email us at [email protected].