Whether you’re a professional athlete or have workout routines at home, the physical rules are the same. It’s best to include a little bit of exercise recovery time after your body uses stored energy to work muscles and joints. It’s a vital cooling-down session that can relax your body and minimize pain or potential injury.
15 Exercise Recovery Tips to Add to Your Routine
When you schedule a workout routine, allow time for warmups and cooldowns. If you jump into a routine without preparing your body, you risk hurting yourself. Likewise, recovery time cools your body down after a workout for essential healing.
Fortunately, recovery isn’t difficult and doesn’t take long to perform. If you pay as much attention to it as you do your exercises, you’ll be thankful in the long run. Consider adding these 15 recovery tactics to your regular workout sessions.
1. Do Some Stretching During the Exercise Recovery Phase
Exercise recovery begins before you even do your first exercise. Your muscles need advance notice so they will be primed and ready. Start each exercising session with a few minutes of stretching.
Do a variety of gentle stretches that include significant muscles and joints in your arms, legs, waist, and neck. For optimal exercise recovery, remember to stretch before and after your workouts. You may consider doing yoga poses or tai chi for healing.
Another efficient way to do stretching is to use resistance bands. They come in different sizes, are inexpensive, and are convenient. Use them at home or do some stretching outside before taking your morning walk or run.
2. Wear Compression Garments
Your physical fitness routine will be more comfortable and efficient with the proper clothing. According to an article published by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, wearing compression garments seems to help with performance recovery and muscle soreness. Some are made as complete outfits, while you can wear others under your regular exercising clothes.
3. Stay Hydrated
Not only does your body have a high concentration of water, but you also need it to survive. It’s essential for all your body’s systems and can flush out waste and toxins. Try to stay hydrated before, during, and after your workout to benefit muscle growth and mental health.
Whenever you’re working out, keep a cold bottle of water at your side. You can also bring a reusable water bottle on hikes and cycling activities. Sweating during exercise takes a lot of water out of your system, so keep hydrated as you recover.
4. Eat Right
A healthy lifestyle includes physical fitness, maintaining good mental health, and consuming nutritious foods. Instead of munching on processed junk food loaded with fat, sugar, salt, and calories, enjoy a variety of whole foods. Lean proteins, veggies, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats help keep your body fit and make exercise recovery easier.
5. Take a Cold Shower
After a hearty workout, your muscles and joints probably feel exhausted. Once again, water comes to your rescue. Taking a cold shower soothes those sore muscles and helps you relax along with other exercise recovery techniques.
6. Get Enough Sleep During Exercise Recovery
Not only does your mental health depend on a good night’s sleep, but so does the rest of your body. While you’re in dreamland, your brain goes to minimum power so that it can reboot, and your body does the necessary repairs.
Aim to get six to eight hours of sleep each night, and you’ll see a difference in your physical fitness regimen. Sleep is a natural exercise recovery that can provide more energy for exercising, muscle growth, stamina, and better mental health.
7. Try Supplements
If you want to boost your exercise recovery, you might consider natural supplements. An article published by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition explains the benefits of creatine for effective muscle growth and exercise. Not only can creative supplements enhance your exercise recovery, but they may help reduce injuries during intense workouts.
Creatine also occurs naturally in healthy lean meats, fish, and dairy products. These are all part of a balanced, nutritious diet and lifestyle. Plus, your body makes its creatine for cell health and other vital functions.
8. Get a Massage
What could be better after exercising than a comforting massage? It’s an ideal exercise recovery technique that can reduce muscle soreness and cramps. An article published by the National University of Health and Sciences states that massage can also benefit your mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and irritability.
After exercising and stretching, use your hands to gently massage the muscles in your legs, arms, and neck. You might also consider investing in an inexpensive foam roller or massage unit for your physical fitness routines. Of course, you can ask your partner to massage those achy muscles for you.
9. Take a Break
No matter how dedicated you are to physical fitness and muscle growth, everybody needs a break. It would help with a relaxing diversion for your mental health and extended exercise recovery. Try to devote at least one day each week to having some fun or reducing your regular exercising routine.
There’s nothing wrong with spending a leisurely Sunday walking through the park or catching up with family and friends. Since your physical health and mental health are intrinsically connected, a bit of relaxation can benefit your entire well-being. It’s also an excellent time to practice gentler stretching exercises.
10. Do a Quick Body Assessment
Your body is a unique machine, and it will tell you what it needs if you listen. As you stretch and prepare for a workout, notice any aches, pains, or anything that seems irregular. It’s normal after exercising to have muscle growth pain, but you need to be careful of injuries.
Another best practice in physical fitness is to do body assessments during your workouts and afterward for recovery. If you feel any pain, you should immediately stop what you’re doing. Even the slightest sports injuries can be exacerbated if you don’t care for them.
11. Alternate Hot and Cold Presses
Here’s another benefit of water for your physical fitness routines. You can use ice, or you can use a manufactured cold pack. Also, you can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad to produce the necessary warmth.
Consider alternating heat and cold therapy on your sore muscles and joints as you’re recovering from your workout. This alternation can dilate your blood vessels and strengthen the blood supply to problem areas. Some people even like to alternate hot and cold water in their post-workout shower.
12. Go Easy on the Alcohol
Besides being high in empty calories, excess alcohol can interfere with glycogen production in your muscles after a workout, says an article published by PLoS One. Another problem is that it can also hinder the natural protein synthesis your body needs for muscle growth.
13. Listen to Calming Music During Exercise Recovery
Have you ever wondered why so many fitness centers pump music while people are doing their workouts? Not only does music benefit your spiritual and mental health, but the upbeat tunes may inspire you. Afterward, listening to calm music can put you in a relaxed mood essential for recovery.
When exercising at home or taking a run, don’t forget your mobile device and earphones. Play your favorite songs with a tempo that makes you happy and want to move your body. You can find many excellent exercising tunes online to download for free or at minimal cost.
14. Eat A Snack Before and After You Exercise (Helps Recovery Later!)
If you’ve ever exercised on an empty stomach, you understand why it’s not such a good idea for most. It’s especially true if your workout routine is after you awaken in the mornings. While you don’t want to exercise after a large meal, a healthy snack can be just what you need.
A few minutes before you start your warmup, have a high-protein snack like a few nuts or a boiled egg. This boost of protein helps strengthen your body while working out and helps with muscle growth. During recovery, consider another high-protein snack to aid with muscle repair.
15. Stay Spiritually Connected
In many cultures and traditions worldwide, the human body is considered a sacred temple that houses your mind and spirit. All components of your triune being require compassionate care for your well-being. You can enhance your exercise routine by promoting good mental health and spiritual connectivity.
Attention to your spiritual being is just as important as keeping your body fit and healthy. Meditation is a superb method for reconnecting with spirit while recovering after exercise. It helps shut the world away for a while so you can listen to your inner voice.
Final Thoughts About Including an Exercise Recovery Phase Post-Workout
Your entire body engages in burning energy and working muscles, tendons, and joints during your workout routine. Not only does it deserve recovery for a job well done, but it’s essential for repair and future workouts. Recovery rebuilds your strength and helps prevent muscle and joint damage.