Exercise is a vital part of staying fit and healthy, and in a world where obesity is on the rise and a quarter of the US population does not engage in any physical exercise at all, being able to incorporate exercise into your day is an excellent way to stay healthy and support your body.
But with exercise comes the all-important recovery period. For newbies or those pushing themselves to achieve more, the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) can be off-putting and create mild pain and soreness for a few days post-exercise. Exercise can also cause fatigue and make you feel like you cannot physically do anything else for a while afterward.
But with recommendations that you need to be engaging in at least 150 minutes of exercise that raises your heart per week, how can you improve recovery times from your workout?
Never underestimate the importance of stretching post-workout. You should be doing dynamic stretching before your workouts, i.e., high knees, arm circles, lunges, or squats, and static stretching, which is holding the stretch afterward to help your body recover faster. Make sure you stretch each muscle group you have used for at least 30 seconds once you have finished the exercise, as this helps to reduce muscle soreness and pain.
You should be making sure you drink plenty throughout your workout, but if not, you need to replace fluids post-workout to let your body recover fluids it has lost during this period. This will allow your body to retain and continue its normal functions without dehydrating. If you are training for any type of sport or working out for longer than an hour, a drink with added electrolytes is particularly useful.
My absolute favourite way to recovery from exercise. Massages are an excellent way to promote recovery from your workouts. You can invest in at-home massage equipment, such as massage guns or chairs, to soothe and relieve muscle tension, or you can look into remedial massage therapy to help you work out any muscle tension or soreness in your body.
Ice baths have become increasingly popular of late, and many athletes swear by them to help improve recovery times and boost physical and mental health. The idea behind ice baths is that plunging into cold temperatures will help to constrict and dilate blood vessels, which can help muscles get rid of waste products easier.
Ideally, you should be looking to consume some type of protein within 60 minutes of exercising. Protein and carbs can help your body repair, recover, and get stronger, so taking a high-protein snack, shake, or eating a protein-heavy meal post-exercise can improve recovery times and help you build strength and muscle. Adults need to eat 20 to 40 grams of protein after working out to maximize muscle growth.
With exercise comes the aftereffects in the form of soreness and fatigue; however, these tips can help you improve your recovery times, get back to working out with minimal downtime and soreness, and give your body what it needs when it needs it.
Happy working out friends,