To get the most out of your exercise routine, it’s important that you put as much thought and effort into the post-workout session. In this article we’ll share five practices to incorporate after your workout.
It’s important to properly hydrate following an intense workout, or any workout for that matter. During exercise your body begins to sweat, which means it is losing water so you’ll need to replenish it. It’s a good idea to drink plenty of water during the workout and it’s especially important to drink water after exercising as it will help increase muscle flexibility and strength and decrease muscle soreness. It’s best to stick to water or other healthy options and avoid choices that are overly caffeinated or too sugary as these can lead to dehydration.
Sufficient Cooldown Period
During exercise, your heart is pumping faster and your internal temperature is much higher than normal. To bring your heart and temperature back down to normal levels, you’ll want to give your body sufficient time to properly cool down. This can be as simple as going for a walk after working out. If you’re using a treadmill or exercise bike then take advantage of the cooldown settings on the machine.
Another thing to consider would be to start using cold water therapy after exercising. First-timers can start off slowly with cool to cold showers, while advanced practitioners can opt for ice baths. Cold water therapy has been around for thousands of years, and there is a growing amount of research supporting ice bath benefits after workouts.
Stretch Your Muscles
Most people think that they only have to stretch before a workout to avoid injury. However, stretching after a workout also has advantages. After working out, your muscles will begin to cool down and contract. By stretching after workouts, you will accelerate the recovery process and help decrease soreness. You’ll also build a wider range of motion which is beneficial for mobility.
Eat a Healthy Snack
Making the smart decision to eat a healthy snack following a workout will help replenish energy, repair and rebuild muscles, and start the recovery process. Rather than celebrating with junk food, treat yourself to something that will actually serve your body and promote maximum growth and wellness. Grab your favorite fruit, low-fat plain Greek yogurt, or granola. Remember that the foods you choose will have an impact on overall results, so research which foods will best compliment your exercise routine and support the health benefits you’re seeking.
Allow Your Body to Recover
Regardless of your fitness level, it’s important to give your body sufficient time to recover to avoid unnecessary stress or strain, as well as prevent injury. People who are just starting out on their fitness journey will want to pay close attention to this area. Oftentimes, newcomers will push themselves too hard in the beginning because they want faster results. But this can lead to severe injury.
Just as it’s important to cool down at the end of a workout, you’ll also want to give yourself proper rest and recovery time in between sessions. Separate your intense workouts with lighter or low-impact activities to give your body time to heal and repair.