Whether you’re new to fitness or you’re working a little harder than usual, it’s essential to take care of your body after every workout. When it comes to keeping your body strong and healthy, enacting a cool-down phase and post-exercise recovery period is just as important as the workout itself.
Following a post-exercise routine will help prevent unnecessary injury, pain, and discomfort. For optimal health and workout results, you need to cap off every session with these ten post-workout tasks and give your body the TLC it needs to perform at its best.
1. Cool-Down Exercise
A universal tip you’ll hear from trainers and fitness experts in and out of the gym is: don’t skip the cool-down. Your body needs to go back to its normal resting state, break down excess cortisol and lactic acid, and leave you feeling rejuvenated, both physically and mentally. By adding cool-down exercises to your routine, you can smoothly transition from a high-intensity workout to recuperation and relaxation.
When done immediately after your workout session, stretching can help you cool down, increase muscle relaxation, and potentially get tight muscles back to their resting state. Immediately following your exercise (when your muscles are still warm), aim to spend at least one minute stretching each muscle group that feels particularly tight. You can learn about recommended post-exercise stretches here.
3. Roll it Out
You’ve probably seen those strange soft rollers lying around the gym or yoga studio. Made from foam, rollers help with your post-workout stretch. To use a roller, you simply place it against a wall or the floor and roll your body across it. The roller will “iron” out the bumps that may have accumulated on your muscles during workout.
You can use the foam roller technique as a warmup as well. While they may look a little quirky, foam rollers are handy post-workout tools that help your body to relax and soothe fatigued muscles.
This tip may seem pretty obvious, but some people are reluctant to follow it. After exercise, you need to drink a lot of water to get your body and muscles back to normal.
While sipping water from a bottle when exercising is enough to stay hydrated, you may need additional post-workout drinks during the cooling down process. Replenish lost electrolytes with electrolyte-enhanced waters, sports drinks, or water loaded with amino acids. These drinks can quickly restore your energy levels. Hydration is key!
5. Refuel with Recovery Foods
After depleting your body energy through exercise, you need to refuel it to recover fast, repair tissues, and to be ready for the next challenge. It’s even more essential to refuel if you’re performing endurance workouts every day or if you’re trying to build muscle.
6. Supplement with MCT Oil
MCT oil supplement is gaining popularity amongst athletes and health and wellness enthusiasts. It’s often added to smoothies, bulletproof coffee, and salad dressings.
This supplement is one of the most bioavailable sources of energy and is made by extracting medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) either from coconut or palm kernel oil.
During exercise, rising lactate levels can negatively impact exercise performance. MCT oil supplements help to reduce lactate buildup. In addition, natural MCT oil supplements can help you build muscle strength, stay lean, increase energy, and aid quick recovery after an intense workout.
7. Track Your Progress
Technology has revolutionized the fitness industry. With innovative wearable devices, you can track your body activities and workout performance.
For instance, there are lots of apps for smartphones as well as devices like smartwatches that can help track your workout progress. Or, if you prefer, you can stick to the traditional pen and paper strategy or even use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel and Google Docs.
8. Hit the Shower
Take a shower immediately after finishing your training session. You should scrub hard and, more importantly, prepare a set of clean clothes.
Hopefully, you’re going to sweat a lot while training, so you need to wear clean clothes after every workout. You should also wash your exercise garment as soon as possible because the workout gadgets and machines you grab at the gym are loaded with germs.
9. Relaxation and Self-Care
Time is the best way to recover (or heal) after a hard workout. Your body has an incredible way of taking care of itself if you let it. Resting after an intense workout session allows your body to repair and recover naturally.
10. Get a Good Night’s Rest
Amazing things happen to your body while you sleep—for instance, tissue growth and repair. A good night’s sleep is essential for anyone who exercises regularly.
Once you include these ten essential tips to your post-workout routine, you’ll pave the path to more efficient exercising. After all, what good is a workout if it damages your body and prevents further activity? Always remember, if you’re sore or fatigued, it’s important to listen to your body and take time to rest between workouts.