You are planning every step of your workout, making sure that all of your fitness objectives have been reached. But did you ever stop to think about the post-workout routine?
This matters a lot more than you might believe, allowing you to properly recover and thus be better prepared for the next session. Keep on reading and discover the things you should be doing after every workout, which will ensure more successful sessions in the future.
When it comes to post-workout habits, one of the most important things is paying attention to your body and the way it responds to the choice of training. Do not be in a hurry to visit the locker room as soon as you have finished the high-intensity training. Keep in mind that our bodies need a gradual transition from intense workouts to lighter exercises.
Stick around a little bit more and engage in low-intensity training, as this will allow for the heart rate to come back to normal in a gradual manner. This will prevent you from feeling light-headed, reducing the risk of excess blood in the lower extremities.
No matter how intense your workout was, you still have to eat. It is recommended to opt for a healthy snack, preferably one that is rich in carbs and proteins. Keep in mind that our muscles need carbs in order to replenish the fuel for the body, meaning glycogen deposits.
On the other hand, the intake of protein is the one that guarantees the proper recovery of the muscles. You can choose a combination of peanut butter and whole-wheat bread or banana; smoothies, natural yoghurts and fruits are also excellent choices.
You might not expect stretching to be part of your post-workout routine but the truth is that it has a lot of benefits to offer. By stretching muscles that are still active, you will actually improve your overall posture and maintain a better level of mobility. Post-workout stretching increases the range of motion and helps the muscles to relax.
Moreover, this can be very useful in case you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; it prevents future damage and it brings the necessary mental relaxation at the same time.
We all know that even moderate workouts lead to increased sweating, not to mention the changes our bodies go through with more intense workouts. Even if you are in a hurry, you should try to take a quick shower. This will help you get rid of all the excess sweat and prevent all sort of microbial infections at the same time (a sweaty body is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, fungus and other potentially harmful microorganisms).
Keep in mind that chafing is a common occurrence during workouts, increasing the risk of infection. A shower can help you keep such risks down to a minimum, not to mention you will definitely enjoy the feeling of cleanliness.
Post-workout hydration is just as important as eating, especially since you have probably lost a lot of fluids and electrolytes during your training. If you do not drink adequate quantities of water after your workout, the metabolism will be affected and you will end up feeling sluggish rather than energized.
Brain fog is another possible risk, so you certainly want to keep all of these things at a safe distance. Dehydration can make you prone to injuries, especially if you are working out in the open outdoors at high temperatures. Moreover, it can affect the performance of your future training sessions.
6. Physical rest
No matter how much you enjoy being active, you still need to allow your body the proper time to recover. Physical rest can be useful in restoring energy levels, not to mention it prevents lower back pain. After each workout, take the necessary time to recover and you will definitely notice the difference in your next training session.
You can also wear compression leggings, as these will help you prevent the much-dreaded muscle soreness. These stimulate the more efficient post-workout recovery, preventing the stagnation of lymph and other fluids in the lower extremities.
Intense workouts leave the body drained of essential resources. Even though you might initially feel pumped with energy, you still need sleep to recover. During the several hours of sleep, the body relaxes and gathers the necessary energy for future training sessions.
The lack of sleep, on the other hand, can damage the overall performance. It has a negative effect on mental abilities and concentration, preventing you from training in an efficient manner.
It is recommended to sleep for at least 7-8 hours each night, as this guarantees the most effective post-workout recovery. Try to go to bed each day at the same hour and avoid using your smartphone or other similar devices, as this can lead to insomnia or poor-quality sleep.
8. Stress reduction
The body enjoys the physical stress created through training. However, when you add chronic stress into the picture, things are bound to get chaotic. The lack of sleep, working too many hours, these are just some of the items on your list which can negatively influence the quality of your workouts.
It is for the best to analyze your daily schedule and set your priorities straight, so you eliminate the chronic stress from your life. Keep in mind that stress can affect your training performance, making you more prone to injuries.
Also, when you are stressed, the body takes longer to recover from moderate-to-intense workouts. Try to relax and have some fun, as this will fill you with positive thoughts and energy.
9. Active recovery
While physical rest is definitely required after workouts, you can also give active recovery a try. This refers to doing light activities, such as going shopping, taking a walk or riding your bike. Active recovery can support the muscles in getting back to a healthy, functioning state; moreover, it can help you prevent post-workout complications, such as ankle pain.
You can also opt for mobility drills, as these are just as efficient as the above-described activities. The blood flow will be stimulated and thus more blood will be directed towards the muscles, promoting their recovery.
In conclusion, these are some of the things you should be doing after each workout. As you have seen, these are quite important, as they will allow the body to recover more efficiently and, thus, be more prepared for the next training session.
Sophie Addison is an enthusiast blogger and writer. She is very passionate about writing general health and fitness. She has posted articles on skincare problems, joint pain treatment, weight loss and woman’s health. Apart from work she likes gardening and listening to music. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.