Workout – Finding the motivation to travel to the gym in the first place is an achievement in itself. Completing your workout in record time also deserves to be celebrated. But your relationship with health and fitness shouldn’t end as soon as you exit the gym. Continue reading to find out what you should do after a workout to aid muscle soreness and minimise recovery time.
Walking away from your workout before your body has had a chance to recover can have a detrimental effect on your health and wellness. This can lead to light-headedness or dizziness and may discourage you from setting foot in a gym ever again. When you engage in physical activity, your temperature rises, and your blood vessels widen. As a result, your body must cool down before it can return to normal. Most treadmills are designed with a built-in cool down function to allow you to gradually transition from running to walking. Remembering to cool down is especially important for endurance athletes, such as marathon runners and long-distance swimmers, as it can regulate blood flow.
When you exercise, water rises to your skin’s surface and is lost as sweat. You must replenish your body’s water supply as soon as possible to prevent the onset of a number of unpleasant side effects associated with dehydration. This includes a headache, rapid heartbeat, migraine, dry mouth, dry skin, infrequent urination, and extreme thirst. By doing so, you can increase muscle flexibility and decrease muscle soreness. Whilst energy drinks may provide an instant energy boost, water is healthy and sustainable. If you struggle to consume a minimum of 6-8 glasses per day, however, you must know how to rehydrate with alternative methods. Have a look at this guide on rehydration to learn how to manage it in a healthy way. ‘
After a particularly strenuous workout, you should aim to return your body to the state it was in prior to entering the gym. The muscles in your body tend to stretch and lengthen when they are warm as this renders them elastic and pliable. As they cool, they contract. If left untreated, this can cause muscle tightness and soreness in the minutes following a workout. Incorporating stretching into your workout routine can not only decrease muscle soreness but speed up the recovery process from start to finish. It can also relax any underlying tension accumulated during your workout and lead to increased flexibility in the long run. Professional athletes and regular gym-goers understand the importance of stretching for improved heart function and diminished joint pain.
Eat something after Workout
Whether you prefer to exercise on an empty stomach or after a meal, you must replenish any lost energy by eating something within an hour of working out. It must, however, be the right snack. A large bowl of ice cream or a hamburger is unlikely to provide you with any health benefits in the long run and may even negate your efforts in the gym. This could lead to gradual weight maintenance or weight gain and discourage you from setting foot in the gym ever again. You must also refrain from slashing your calories before a workout in an attempt to maximise your results. This will only trigger extreme hunger and may even render you unable to complete your workout. Your body needs fuel to function on a daily basis but especially during a workout. By eating the right foods before, during, and after a workout, you can enhance your performance in the gym and start seeing results. Examples of great post-workout snacks include vegetables, nuts, yoghurt, fish, rice, and chicken. To fuel your body before a big workout, snack on energy-boosting foods such as cottage cheese, oatmeal, fruit, and peanut butter.
Even if you are planning to head straight home from the gym, taking a shower as soon as possible can reduce the length of time it takes your body to recover and aid the overall recovery process. An ice bath is unnecessary, but a cool shower can decrease muscle inflammation and even prevent it from materialising in the first place. When it comes to working out, inflammation is the most commonly cited reason for muscle soreness the next day. One of the most obvious benefits of showering after a workout is also to rid your body of any excess sweat that may have accumulated during your time in the gym. Even if you are just looking for a way to lower your body temperature following a particularly strenuous workout, a cool shower can be a fitting end to a successful gym session.
As well as showering at the gym, you should also get changed if you can. This may sound like an obvious point but with so many people only working out if and when they can, it may make sense to continue running errands in flexible, breathable clothing. This can, however, gradually promote the growth of bacteria and yeast in hard-to-reach places. Even if you are in a rush, you should replace any wet clothing with clean, dry clothing. At the very least, you should replace your socks, bra, and underwear. As well as feeling unpleasant, soggy clothing can be a breeding ground for fungus and germs. Over time, this can lead to skin rashes, infections, and breakouts.
When it comes to working out, rest is crucial to prevent the onset of muscle fatigue. This includes immediately after a workout and, if possible, the next day. If you are a personal trainer or are accustomed to daily workouts, you should aim to spread out intense workouts as much as you can. This can give your body ample time to recover and reduces your likelihood of sustaining an injury. In the gym, more is not necessarily always better. Your body has subtle, as well as obvious, ways of letting you know it needs to rest. A particularly intense workout, such as a spin class or bootcamp session, requires a considerable rest period regardless of your fitness level. This is also the reason why professional athletes and bodybuilders mix up their workout routine from day to day and focus on a different body part during each session.
Get a massage
Whilst this may not necessarily be possible after every workout, regular massages can work wonders on sore, tight muscles. It can speed up recovery time and has even been proven to improve muscle strength over time. If your budget does not allow for daily massages, you can achieve the same results with a foam roller. Start by locating areas of tenderness on your body and focusing on that particular area until you start to feel relief. When it comes to self-massages, you must also remember to match your breathing to your actions to allow your central nervous system as well as your muscles to follow suit.
When it comes to working out, it is a common myth that your hard work should end when your workout does. You must also remember to cool down, rehydrate, stretch, eat something, shower, get changed, rest, and get a massage if and when you can.