Recovery after a workout can be as important to your health as warming up before a workout. But for many, recovery involves taking a quick shower before driving to work.
A proper recover can help your body in several ways including:
- Reduce pain
- Cut down your recovery time
- Help your body build muscle
- Replace depleted nutrients and minerals
- Provide post-workout fuel
By adopting a workout recovery routine, you might find that you feel better and get more out of your exercise.
Here are some ideas for incorporating into your workout recovery routine:
Invest in Supplements
Sometimes your post-workout routine is just a routine. If you add supplements to your regular diet, you can reduce pain. For example, your joints are cushioned with cartilage. Glucosamine chondroitin and type II collagen supplements can help to reduce joint pain by building up the cartilage in your joints.
Hydrate Before and After Working Out
Everyone is aware of rehydrating after a workout. Drinking water after a workout helps you replace water lost to sweat. It can help you avoid the headaches and fatigue that come with dehydration.
But you should also hydrate before and during your workout. Water is essential to regulating your temperature and muscle function. When your body has too little water, your muscles can cramp and you can become delirious or confused.
When you hydrate, be careful of sports drinks. Sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates that can keep you going during high intensity workouts. But for most workouts, water can replenish your body without the added calories and the dehydrating effect of some salts included as electrolytes.
Splurge for a Massage
Nearly 90% of people say that massage can reduce pain. Massage has a couple of effects after a workout.
- Break down lactic acid: Lactic acid is one of the main reasons your muscles hurt and cramp after a workout. A massage can break down and redistribute the lactic acid in your muscles.
- Soothe soreness: Exercise builds muscle by breaking down the muscle fibers so they can grow back stronger. Some muscle soreness is necessary to this process. A massage can help relieve the soreness after a workout.
Your body uses more than water during a workout. It consumes energy, breaks down proteins in the muscle fibers, and it loses electrolytes through sweat. After a workout, you need to replace all of these.
A banana is a good post-workout snack. It contains potassium, one of the minerals lost during exercise. A lack of potassium can lead to muscle cramps.
A banana also contains carbohydrates. These carbs can quickly replenish the energy you used during your workout.
Other good sources of potassium and carbs include potatoes, citrus fruits, and melons.
You should also begin to consume protein. Your body will need protein to rebuild the muscle fibers you broke down during your workout. Some sources of protein include chicken, eggs, tuna, salmon, nuts, and nut butters. They also fill you up so you can avoid the post-workout hunger pains.
Avoid Painful Treatments Right After a Big Workout
Your body can only handle so much. This is why your workout days should be followed by rest days or light exercise days. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild. If you exercise before this happens, you can actually lose muscle because you are breaking it down faster than it can rebuild. You can also increase your risk of injury.
But this extends beyond working out. Helping someone move, heavy lifting at work, and even spa treatments can divert resources from your workout recovery. For example, after waxing, you should leave a few days for your skin to recover and avoid exposing the area to the sun for at least 48 hours after your wax.
Developing a post-workout routine can help you feel more positive about exercise and help you recover for the next one.