Your post workout recovery is just as important as your workout itself. It helps your body to repair and grow stronger.
Taking the time to recover from a tough workout means the real effects of training can take place.
Here are 5 ways to make sure your post workout recovery is as effective as possible.
Enjoyable? Nope. But ice baths are a necessary evil in the recovery process.
Intense exercise causes microtrauma or tiny tears in your muscle fibres. Your muscles then repair themselves, which is how you gain muscle. Professional athletes use ice baths to improve this healing process. The bath helps to reduce swelling and helps flush lactic acid out of tissue.
Once out of the bath your body will warm back up. This will increase blood flow which speeds up circulation, aiding recovery further. If you don't have access to an ice bath (who does?) a speedy cold shower should do the trick.
You need sleep to get fitter and stronger. Through sleep your body gets given the chance to repair.
As mentioned, muscle gain occurs during recovery. When you sleep your body stops moving. This allows your muscles the chance to repair themselves and the time to replenish lost nutrients. Sleep also gives you more energy, makes you more alert and strengthens your immune system.
Staying hydrated and taking on the right nutrition post-workout will replenish your energy stores.
Protein shakes are popular in gyms up and down the country. From hardcore body builders to casual treadmill users, everyone seems to be in on the game. Different shakes can help you at different points during your workout. Some give you energy before hand, some help you keep going during and some aid your recovery afterwards. Chugging through huge tubs of whey powder might not be what's right for you though...
If your workout lasts less than an hour, water should suffice. Your body will be in recovery mode so you will need to take on a bit of nutrient rich food too. Eggs and grilled chicken are great natural sources of protein and carbohydrates. They will make you full, but not bloated.
Interacting with your muscle proteins, massage helps your cells recover and also reduces inflammation.
Scientifically proven to switch genes on and off, massage can coax muscles into recovery. 10 minutes of deep tissue massage can help unlock the tissue that can lead to imbalances. It works to recharge your muscles and brings fluid back into them. Using massage as a recovery technique should also help improve your flexibility and mobility.
An active recovery day is when you take a day off from working out but you remain active. They can help ease soreness from past workouts and will improve circulation.
These days let your body repair. They can incorporate anything from going for a walk or kicking a football around. The light movement will stimulate blood flow which will repair your muscles quicker. It's important to not push yourself during active recovery. You want to help your body to recover, not push it further without letting it recharge.
Letting your body recover after a workout is just as important to your health as your workout is. Make sure to do it. From reducing stress levels to wearing compression clothing there are lots more ways to aid post workout recovery. If you start with these 5 top tips you should notice a marked improvement in the speed and effectiveness of the way your body recovers.
Feel free to share some of your top tips on recovery in the comments below.