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24 April, 2020

How to Recover Faster After a Tough Workout

We’re all familiar with the endorphin-fueled high that comes after a tough workout. In a twist of irony, the next morning is usually spent on the opposite end of the feel-good spectrum. Your body aches to the point where walking is just as challenging as yesterday’s burpees and you’re one annoyance away from cursing your personal trainer.

That’s because your body is now at the point where the real magic happens. Exercise tears your muscles apart, and recovery is when it puts them back together and makes them stronger for the next workout. You’re probably familiar with the process, so let’s move on to some pointers on how you can recover faster.

Hydrate

Through perspiration, your body loses a large amount of fluids during exercise. Ideally, you should be replacing it during the workout to ensure your performance, but doing it when you’re recovering is still a good idea. Water supports nutrient transfer as well as metabolic function, which in turn helps you get back in peak condition faster.

Eat Real Food

Those protein shakes and granola bars might give your muscles a healthy shot of amino acids, but they’re no substitute for a proper diet. Be sure to eat a balanced portion of fresh, real food that contains complex carbohydrates. Your body will use them to replenish your muscles and further improve the recovery process.

Rest and Relax

Exercise is proof that you can have too much of a good thing. You need to give your body time to fully and properly recover, which is as simple as spending a few hours resting and relaxing. No less important is getting your 7-8 hours of shuteye per night, which is when your body recovers fastest. Sometimes, injuries like herniated discs can make things even more frustrating as you can’t head back to the gym until you’ve fully recovered. The right mattress can alleviate pressure and help you get exercise-ready sooner. Remember that stress is detrimental to recovery, so a bit of relaxation is well-deserved and shouldn’t be avoided.

Get a Massage

Massage therapy aids in breaking up scar tissue and reducing muscle pain. Granted, it can be expensive. Perhaps you can make an agreement with your partner to trade massages. In any case, your blood circulation will improve and you’ll feel completely relaxed, which is all the more helpful in speeding up the recovery process.

Stretch

Whether by grabbing the foam roller or following a routine on your workout app, stretching is key to loosening up the muscles and stimulating blood flow. It also helps to prevent pain and injuries. Just like hydrating, you should aim to stretch immediately after your workout, which will cool your body down and bring your heart rate back to normalcy.

Take an Ice Bath

Ice baths or contrast water therapy (alternating between cold and hot baths or showers) are a mainstay in many athletes’ routines. Not only do they speed up recovery, but they’re also purported to reduce pain and prevent injury. The idea is that these kinds of therapy flush out waste products in your muscle tissue by constricting and dilating blood vessels.

Get a Mental Workout

While a little less concrete than other solutions, a bit of mental exercise is said to be hugely beneficial for recovering athletes. This can include meditation, deep breathing and visualization exercises. In any case, they’ll reduce your stress and anxiety, which has both mental and physical benefits that are relevant to recovery.

Remember that prevention is better than cure. Following a routine that makes time for recovery is the best way to ensure that you gain the most out of every workout.

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