How to Support Post-Workout Recovery
Whether you are dedicated to running, obsessed with cycling, or just someone who consistently gets those steps in, you probably know that exercise can leave your muscles feeling tired and sore. That's where post-workout recovery comes in.
Recovery is about more than just pressing the cooldown button on the treadmill. We’ve put together seven ways to get your body into recovery mode post-workout:
As always, staying hydrated is our mission! Drinking water after exercise can help replenish the fluids you sweat out and promote recovery. Drinking electrolytes or adding electrolyte powders to your water is another option to recover hydration.
It can be tempting to crash onto the couch and binge reality TV after a workout, especially if the exercise is particularly exhausting. But while it’s important to get rest, doing active rest may be optimal. Active rest involves doing light movement—think going for a walk or doing restorative yoga—to keep blood flowing around your body after a workout.
Eat Your Protein
Consuming high-protein foods after a workout may help your muscles recover. You don’t need to take any specific supplements to recover from a workout, but those looking to increase their protein intake or build muscle may experiment with protein powders for an added boost of the macronutrient.
Get Enough Sleep
Some say they sleep better after a good workout, but the benefit may be mutual. Sleep gives your muscles the time they need to heal and recover. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep, but recognize you may need more if you’re working out more intensely.
Massage and Stretch
Stretching isn’t just ideal immediately before and after a workout. Stretching supports blood flow and can help improve mobility and relieve muscle tension. Some people also incorporate an element of massage (such as foam rolling or using a massage gun) in their post-workout recovery plans to help reduce muscle soreness.
Pass on the Alcohol
Not only is alcohol known to be dehydrating, but research suggests that alcohol can also impair post-workout recovery. So save the bubbly for a special occasion and turn to a healthy mocktail instead.
Body Check & Reflect
Post-workout recovery is about more than the physical. We can also infuse mindfulness into how we think about exercise with a body check. Before you head to bed the night after a workout, take a few moments to reflect on your day’s movement. How did each specific exercise make you feel? Did you feel sufficiently challenged or think you pushed yourself too hard? Exercising at the level that’s right for you can help protect you from injury.
Remember, taking the time to properly recover is not a sign of weakness; it's a crucial part of becoming a stronger, healthier you. So, after your next workout, take some time to recover properly. Your body will thank you, and you'll be on your way to achieving your fitness goals!