Over 50% of American adults meet the weekly recommendations for aerobic activity.
We know the benefits of exercise but it’s important to remember how crucial exercise recovery is. Although working out every day is ideal, downtime is just as essential.
Not sure how to promote exercise recovery in your life? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are seven ways to do this.
What Is Exercise Recovery?
Post-exercise recovery includes several post-exercise steps to optimize your next workout. Although it doesn’t require much effort, many gym-goers neglect this important step and don’t reap the many benefits.
For instance, when you follow a post-workout recovery regime it helps your body repair tissue, restore function, and let your muscles rest.
The Top 7 Ways to Speed Up Post-Exercise Recovery
We’ve covered how important it is to properly recover from a workout, so now it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty.
Whether it’s recovery exercises to replenishing your body with crucial nutrients, muscle recovery is just around the corner with these tips.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is the key to great mental and physical health. Not only does it make workouts more productive but when we sleep our body has time to recover, conserve energy, and repair the muscles we’ve worked out.
So, aim for seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night so your body is optimized for a good workout. If your schedule allows, have a 20 minute power nap two hours after exercise to restore muscles. And don’t worry, a quick nap won’t ruin your night-time rest.
2. Load Up on Protein
It’s no surprise that a protein-rich diet helps repair your body, increase muscle strength, and fortify your bones. Eat a breakfast that’s high in protein to help your muscles rebuild and reduce sugar cravings during the day. For instance, you could whip up oats with blueberries, a black bean omelet, or overnight chia pudding so you get plenty of protein.
You should also focus on eating a high-protein snack immediately after exercise to help your muscles recover and restore the glycogen you’ve lost. Re-fuel with a peanut butter sandwich or fruit with Greek yogurt to help your muscles recover.
Chocolate milk is also an effective post-exercise snack. This is because it contains calcium, vitamin D, protein, and phosphorous. You can even make a healthy version by mixing milk, raw cocoa powder, and a dash of honey for extra flavor.
3. Stay Hydrated
We know how crucial it is to stay hydrated but there are guidelines to follow regarding exercise.
The American Council on Exercise says you should drink 20 ounces of water before exercise, 10 ounces during, and 8 ounces around 30 minutes after. Avoid getting dehydrated, otherwise you’ll experience muscle fatigue and have a poor performance.
Another way to speed up post-workout recovery is skipping the booze. Not only does it make you dehydrated, but alcohol also makes it harder for protein to synthesize so your muscles take longer to repair.
4. Get a Massage
Massages help with post-exercise muscle soreness, so treat yourself to a massage chair.
Also, it’s important to note a majority of muscle soreness happens when the muscles and fascia (the connective tissue in the body) feels knotted. An effective way to remove the knots is by using a foam roller as they also soothe sore spots in your muscles.
You should also get in the habit of stretching especially on recovery days. Stretches help with muscle recovery and prevent potential injuries so do a 10 minute full body stretch in the morning.
5. Plan Your Rest Days
The general rule is to wait 48 hours between workouts that are physically demanding. It also depends on your age or skill level, so if you’re taking longer breaks then commit to a couple of active recovery days each week.
For instance, go for a light jog, do yoga or tai chi so you’re still working towards your fitness goal while recharging your batteries.
6. Take Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Before you take anti-inflammatory drugs, consult with your physician to see if it’s best for you. Most anti-inflammatory medication boosts muscle recovery time and eases muscle soreness.
Eat pineapple as it contains high levels of bromelain, an enzyme that has anti-inflammatory properties that heal strains, sprains, and bruises. You can also try cherries as they contain anthocyanins antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory.
7. Apply Topical Creams
Topical creams are another effective way of accelerating your post-exercise recovery. Although these topical painkillers relieve muscle and joint pain, they also contain special ingredients to do this.
You can find creams called counterirritants that contain menthol and camphor that produce a cooling sensation to distract you from discomfort.
Hot and cold packs offer relief for sore muscles too. The cold numbs the soreness and reduces inflammation by constricting the blood flow to the hurt area. A bag of frozen peas and a cold washcloth works well for this.
Heat packs also relax your muscles as the warmth dilates blood vessels and sends more oxygen and blood to the area. Plus, it reduces the sensation of pain.
That’s How to Speed Up Your Exercise Recovery
Now you know to accelerate your exercise recovery progress.
It’s important to have recovery days, eat protein-rich meals, stay hydrated, and get enough shut-eye. You can also consider applying topical creams and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain.
Once you do this, you’ll have more productive workout sessions in order to achieve your fitness goals. Good luck!
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