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Top habits for a healthy post-workout recovery routine
In the same way, your pre-workout routine impacts your actual workout performance, your post-workout routine impacts your road to recovery. If done incorrectly— or not at all— the process of recovery can be difficult and delayed, which can stunt your motivation to get back in the gym and slow down your timeline to desired results.
That’s why it’s necessary to establish an adequate post-workout regime if you haven’t already done so. If you are just starting out in the fitness world, you must develop this habit now before you truly get the ball rolling. The right post-workout practice will make it easier for you to feel good about the exercises you’re doing and properly recover.
Whether you are an exercise expert or a beginner, this post-workout routine is for you! Follow these four simple steps while embarking down the road to recovery:
Stretch your muscles
Before you even leave the fitness center or whatever location you’re using to get your workout in, remember to stretch! It’s no secret that stretching plays a vital role in the world of physical fitness, yet for some reason, this step is often overlooked.
Whether you believe it or not, stretching post-workout is just as critical— if not more— than stretching pre-workout. Sure, performing this practice before exercising is great for injury prevention, but did you know that stretching after exercising offers both physiological and psychological benefits as well?
Apart from one of the more obvious physiological benefits of stretching— combating muscle soreness— performing this practice also works to reduce muscle fatigue.
According to an article on Fit Day, physical exercise causes a buildup of lactic acid in our muscles, which explains why many people experience a burning sensation or weakness within their muscles.
Fortunately, stretching immediately after working out allows your muscles to warm and blood circulation to increase, thereby combatting the signs of muscle fatigue and speeding up the process of recovery.
Aside from the physiological effects, stretching post-workout can also combat stress and, in general, support the mind-body relationship. Think about it— when you follow this practice, you’re allowing yourself to become in tune with how your body feels.
Take mental notes of any and all aches and pains it may be experiencing.
This makes it easier for you to identify and prioritize certain areas of your body and create a healthier mind-body connection by calming the nerves and relaxing your inner-being.
Clean yourself up
It’s natural for your body to respond to exercise by producing sweat, as sweating works to cool down your body when it begins to overheat from physical activity.
Although regulating your body temperature is a critical component of working out, it doesn’t come without its faults.
Too much sweat can cause the buildup of dirt, oil, and bacteria on your skin, which can ultimately lead to acne formation.
This is why it’s essential to practice good hygiene post-workout, as this is the number one way to prevent breakouts from occurring.
Be sure to rinse off in the shower as soon as you are finished exercising and use body wash and a face cleanser to ensure any buildup is removed from the skin.
It may also be in your benefit to add a specific acne treatment cream to your current skincare regime for those of you who typically identify with an oily or acne-prone skin type. This will further work to protect your skin from the development of bumps and blemishes.
Thus, making it easier for your skin to recover from your workout faster and allow you to maintain a clean and clear complexion.
Drink TONS of water
Arguably the most valuable and influential component in our body, water works to regulate body temperature, aid the digestive system, and protect our vital organs. This, combined with the fact that water makes up roughly 60% of our bodies, it’s no wonder why it’s so vital to have healthy hydration habits, especially on the days we’re being physically active.
In fact, researchers have uncovered the underlying connection between exercise and hydration levels, noting that in just one hour, the body loses more than a quart of water, depending on a few factors such as air temperature and exercise intensity.
Needless to say, drinking water is a must-have step to your post-workout routine.
If consumed correctly, some of the recovery benefits you may notice are weight loss, improved immune system, a loss of headaches, enhanced mood and memory, and increases in energy and brainpower.
So get ready to drink up!
To guarantee these benefits, it’s recommended that in addition to drinking water throughout your workout, you also make a point to consume at least eight more fluid ounces of water 30 minutes post-exercise.
And, for every pound of body weight lost from working out, try and drink a minimum of 16-24 fluid ounces after physical activity.
For those who don’t usually enjoy trying to get in their daily dose of H20, there are other ways to trick yourself into getting the right amount of fluids you need. Starting with the foods you consume.
Water-rich fruits and vegetables including strawberries, cantaloupes, broccoli, celery, zucchini, and more are an excellent way to make sure your body remains hydrated post-workout. Additionally, you can also purchase flavored water enhancer drops to add some extra flavor to your water.
This will make consumption all the more tasty and effortless!
Enjoy a post-workout protein shake
Finally, wrap up your post-workout routine with a tasty protein shake of your choosing!
Protein is a great source to turn to when you’re looking to recover from a vigorous workout as it works to repair and rebuild your muscles after exercise.
This is why many fitness centers offer protein shakes at their facility, as this aids this process, making for a quicker, more efficient workout recovery.
And plus, they taste yummy!
What more could you ask for?
Don’t be mistaken; there is certainly nothing wrong with taking a more traditional approach to your protein consumption.
Making a protein-packed meal for yourself using foods like eggs, almonds, chicken breasts, and fish are a great alternative to protein shakes.
However, this approach does require much more time, money, and motivation, so it can be challenging to stay committed when you’re coming back from an exhausting workout.
That being said, on the days where you’re feeling a bit lazier than usual or are simply looking for something quick and fast-acting while you’re on the go, consider taking advantage of the delicious shakes offered at your fitness center.
Or, make your own shake at home!
All you have to do is invest in a protein powder that you like and combine it with a few healthy ingredients you have from home to create your very own customizable protein shake!