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Best Practices for Effective after Exercise Recovery

After exercise recovery is as important as exercise itself. It is during exercise recovery that the body builds and repairs muscle. Engaging in the best practices for after exercise recovery will help you to consolidate fitness gains while simultaneously preventing injury. This article discusses 5 best practices for effective after exercise recovery.

Hydrate

Hydration is possibly the most important component of after exercise recovery. Depending on your exercise of choice, you might require water or you might require water and an electrolyte replenishment beverage. If you sweat a lot and/or you exercise for more than one hour at a time, you should consume 8 ounces of water for every half hour that you exercised. You should also consume 8 ounces of an electrolyte replacement drink. Check the label to make sure the electrolyte drink doesn’t contain too much sugar, which will just increase your thirst. If you did a light workout, water should be sufficient to replace your water loss. Hydration is important to prevent muscle soreness.

Eat

After you exercise, you should have a snack in order to promote exercise recovery. In addition to replenishing your body of nutrients it lost, you will also prevent a binge later. Find a healthy snack from 200 to 300 calories, depending on how much you exercised. The best snack for after exercise recovery will be a combination of protein and carbohydrates. Cheese and crackers are a good snack. An apple with some peanut butter is also a good post exercise snack, or even some trail mix.

Stretch

There are conflicting theories about the practice of stretching. Some experts believe that stretching should be done only after exercise. Other experts believe that stretching should be done both before and after. The important aspect of stretching is that you do it at some point when your muscles are warm and that you practice good form.

Ice

Icing is an essential component of the best exercise recovery practices. Icing is especially important after hard workouts, but if you have time you should really ice after every workout. Apply ice to your legs (or other muscle groups used) with an ice pack or bag of ice. Icing can facilitate injury prevention by reducing inflammation in the body before it causes tissue damage.  If you engage in high impact exercise, such as running or dancing; you should ice for 15 to 20 minutes after each session. You can ice as much as 15 to 20 minutes every hour. You should ice anything that feels swollen.

Rest

Resting is as important as exercising for athletes. Too many athletes believe that they need to push themselves beyond the point that is healthy in order to become stronger. Exactly the opposite is true for the best after exercise recovery. The most important aspect of rest for exercise recovery is to listen to your body. Plan days off into your schedule in the same way you plan workouts; but don’t be a slave to your schedule. If you are supposed to exercise on a day when your muscles ache and you feel exhausted, take a day off.

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