When people think about being healthy, working out and eating nutritious foods are some of the first things that come to mind.
While these are essential, self-care and recovery are also important — and often neglected. You put your body through so much, but there are times to be gentle with it, too.
Why a post-workout recovery plan is essential
When you go through a workout, a lot of stress and strain are put on your body. An hour or two post-workout is when your body needs the most attention.
This blog will explain five recovery activities you need to do after every workout. Make them part of your regular exercise routine to allow your body to effortlessly repair and bounce back.
1. Cool down
Whether you performed strength training or cardiovascular exercises, performing cool-down movements at the end of your workout can help slow your heart rate as your body starts the recovery process.
Try casually walking for five to 10 minutes or doing some tension-reducing exercises. You may find that some regions of your body are extra tight and may require more attention.
2. Stretch out your muscles
After your cool-down is complete, you’ll want to do some stretching. Lengthening the muscles is very important for preventing tightness and reducing any soreness you may experience.
You can find numerous YouTube videos to guide you through post-workout stretching or just combine a few stretches of your own. Try to hold each position for 20 to 30 seconds for maximum effect.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
While you work out, you are likely sweating. So, replenish your body with plenty of water — aim for a minimum of 8 ounces.
Electrolyte drinks are also great because they are essential minerals that help strengthen your muscles, support heart health, and enhance exercise performance.
Sugar-free options are ideal.
4. Refuel your body
The body is tired after exercise, and you should provide it with nutrients within 30 minutes of your workout.
Combine a protein and carbohydrate source to give your muscles amino acids for rebuilding, and your body glucose to restore energy. Here are a few examples of what you could try.
- A shake with protein powder and a banana
- Turkey and lettuce wraps
- Protein-packed oatmeal
- Salmon and vegetables
Sleep is essential for helping your recover from your workout. The fewer hours you sleep, the less time your body has to repair itself. Aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night and try to keep the same sleep schedule.
Frequently asked questions about workout recovery
What should I not do immediately after exercise?
Avoid heading to a fast-food restaurant or drinking alcohol right after your workout. This is an essential time for your body to be provided with nutrients it can use to repair the muscles and replenish its energy.
Also, try to avoid staying in your workout clothes for too long. Sweat and dirt are drying on your skin.
What should I put in my body after a workout?
Your body works hard during exercise, and it deserves to be rewarded with a well-balanced meal. Combine a protein source and a carbohydrate source for the ideal refueling meal. An easy example is a protein shake with a banana.
What is the fastest way to clean up after working out?
If you do not have access to a shower and are going somewhere right after working out, use wipes, deodorant, body spray, dry shampoo, and a change of clothes to freshen up.