You can make the most out of your workout by engaging in an effective recovery process when you are finished. How you treat your body following a hard workout will have a direct effect on the speed and quality of your recovery. It doesn’t take much effort to recover from an intense workout, but making sure you follow these steps can make a big difference.
Nourishing your body with the right mix of nutrients after your workout will help your body to bounce back more quickly. Having a big meal might not be the best thing after you finish your workout, but you definitely want to restore a little energy and balance to your body with a substantial snack. The right combination of protein and carbs will help to rebuild the muscle proteins, and glycogen stores you've lost during an intense workout. This will also encourage new muscle growth. Good choices include a glass of low-fat chocolate milk with a banana, some whole wheat crackers with cheese, or a protein bar with some dried fruit.
Quality of Sleep
In order to be ready to go for your next workout, you need to be able to sleep restfully at night. You cannot go into a workout tired and expect to perform your best. If you are not sleeping well at night, you may need to make some changes to your sleep environment or your bedtime routine. It could be that your mattress or pillows are impeding your want for a good night of sleep. A change in shape of your mattress is one of the signs you need a new one. You can also try eliminating extraneous noise in your bedroom with a white noise machine.
Cool Down and Stretch
A proper cool down is essential in your recovery efforts. Depending on the intensity of your exercise, your cool down should take at least a few minutes to complete effectively. This step will allow your blood-vessel constriction and heart rate to get back to normal. After you have cooled down, you need to take the time to stretch. A quality stretching routine will help decrease soreness levels while accelerating the recovery process. In addition, stretching will relax tense muscles and improve your range of motion.
You can leverage the benefits of your workout to the fullest extent by fueling your body with the right food, getting a quality night’s sleep, and making sure that you cool down and stretch after you finish your session.
Want to feel more relaxed after a workout? Check out our Guide to Sports Massage Therapy