You know that feeling you get from exercising…the one that makes you feel accomplished, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world? We want you to feel that all the time, but remember: cultivating good post-workout habits is equally important.
Neglecting recovery may leave you feeling super sore — you know, when it’s difficult to walk up the stairs two or more days after a really intense workout. While the feeling may prove that you really went for it, pain doesn’t need to be on the path to accomplishing your goals. Get the most out of your fitness routine, relieve sore muscles, and prevent injury by incorporating some post-workout recovery into your life.
Strenuous workouts will burn a lot of calories — which is the goal in some cases — but they’ll also take a toll on your body. Staying hydrated, both during and after, can help you recover faster. In addition to drinking water, reach for beverages enhanced with electrolytes to replace the essential minerals you sweat out.
It’s also important to eat a meal after exercising. However, you need to resist the urge to refuel with easy-to-grab snacks and leftovers, and focus on making yourself something fresh. Foods containing proteins, potassium, carbohydrates, and healthy fats will rebuild muscles and stave off fatigue. Think sweet potatoes, salmon, avocado, or pasta with a drizzle of olive oil.
Protein shakes and smoothies are another good option for post-workout recovery. They’re quick to make in the blender and are fully customizable so you can find the flavors and nutrients that work best for your body. A smoothie made with a broad-spectrum CBD drink mix will do double duty, supporting muscle recovery and fueling your body with much-needed protein. Drinking green tea, which is packed with antioxidants, may also help muscles recover faster.
Post-workout recovery routines will vary from person to person, depending on their bodies’ needs and the type of fitness they’re engaging in, but everyone should reserve some time to stretch. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes — whether it’s at the beginning or end of your workout — to minimize the production of lactic acid and encourage circulation.
Using a foam roller is one option: it may help to alleviate soreness and fatigue, and improve overall muscular performance. Isolating parts of your body like this may cause some slight discomfort, but this self-massage technique helps muscles stay warm and can keep tightness at bay.
Practicing a short yoga routine can also stretch the body — especially if you work yourself into Pigeon Pose (or Kapotasana) and other positions that open up your hips, shoulders, and core. Downward Dog, Warrior Pose, Mountain Pose, and Tree Pose also help to elongate the body and encourage more flexibility and mobility.
It may be tempting to flop onto the couch after working out but that’s actually one of the worst things you can do. You’ll feel better — and your body will benefit more from the activity you just did — if you practice a soothing, muscle-restoring routine directly following exercise.
- Soak it in: Relaxing in a hot bath can help soothe the body and mind — remember to bring your favorite bath salts or bomb for fun.
- Rinse it off: Taking a cold shower or dunking briefly in an ice bath, while not for the faint of heart, may also speed up recovery. But if being submerged in icy cold water isn’t your thing, you can always alternate between hot and cold water in the shower to boost circulation and reduce inflammation.
- Rub it on: Massaging balms and lotions specifically designed for muscle recovery can also help to ease post-workout soreness. Look for ones like this CBD Releaf Balm from Papa and Barkley, which starts off warm but then provides a gentle cooling sensation (eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender extracts give it a nice scent, too). This Balm+ Relief from Plant People, made with full-spectrum hemp extract and shea butter, is another great option.
Improving your post-workout recovery is as simple as listening to your body’s needs. Every body is different, but everyone can benefit from resetting after an intense spin class or weight-training session, whether it’s with foam rolling, hydrating, or eating a nutritious meal. A post-workout routine not only allows you to heal and improve your overall fitness levels, but it also allows you to pat yourself on the back for taking the time to get healthier and stronger.
Not intended as medical advice. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. If you have specific healthcare concerns or questions about the products discussed, please contact your licensed healthcare professional for advice.
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