So, you’ve mastered your fitness routine to melt the most calories off your body while targeting your weak spots—now you’re sore, tired, and ready to hit the shower. If you’re constantly dealing with excessive soreness or creaky, achy pains after the gym, odds are likely that your post-workout routine is lacking.
For some, a post-workout regimen may seem tiresome and useless (or just downright annoying when you’re itching to head home and relax). However, by incorporating a post-workout routine into your fitness schedule, you do your mind and body a great deal of good.
Giving it your all during every workout session can help you build your endurance and strengthen your muscles, but it can also make you feel pretty exhausted, both physically and mentally, over the course of the following few days. Should you wish to expedite your healing and recovery process, it is imperative that you learn how to take care of your body after an intense workout. Take a look at the 4 things you should include in your post-workout routine so you can feel refreshed and relaxed after each and every workout.
1. Cool Down
Your muscles will be in a state of exhaustion and in need of a good stretch after you’ve pushed yourself to your peak physical limitations. Cooling down is an essential part of a healthy workout routine as it helps you improve your joints’ range of motion and reduces soreness and prevents injuries.
Professional athletes often regard cooling down as the most important phase of training because it is such an integral part of strengthening your muscles and ensuring they’re cared for and able to perform again the next day. In essence, cooling down promotes gradual recovery of your heart rate and blood pressure and helps regulate your blood flow, leaving you feeling stronger than ever.
If you’re creating your first cool down routine, consider including these activities:
- Light jogging
- Jumping jacks
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3. Refuel with the right foods
Did you know that the food you eat can affect the rate at which you are able to recover from a high-intensity workout? Foods that are rich in antioxidants have been scientifically proven to decrease muscle soreness and minimize inflammation. Fueling up with the right foods after exercise can help you build muscle and recovery faster.
Wondering what foods you should be stocking up on when you’re at the grocery store? Try these post-workout favorites:
- Hard-boiled eggs and toast
- Organic beef jerky
- Nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc.)
- Multigrain bread
- Bananas with peanut butter
- Greek yogurt
Stretching is a key facet of any post-workout routine. When it comes to dealing with discomfort after pumping iron, there are two types of stretches you will need to cover: dynamic stretches, and static stretches.
Static exercises are those that are performed in place, such as knee pulls and arm twists. Dynamic stretches, on the other hand, are ones that involve movement, such as high knees, jumping jacks, and walking lunges.
Stretching effectively reduces soreness as it can elongate the muscles, increase flexibility, and minimize the build-up of lactic acid. Once you’re done with your body stretches, grab a foam roller to get a deeper stretch and massage in.
Cheers to your blossoming post-workout routine! Did we miss anything? Let us know your favorite post-workout activities in the comments below!