After a strenuous workout, you may be eager to speed your recovery. Workout habits that will help you achieve this goal include getting adequate rest, stretching, hydrating properly, and tuning into the needs of your body during each workout session.
Plan Down Time
Your muscles need time to repair and recover, particularly after strenuous workouts that involve weight training. The tissue repair and rebuild process can take 1 to 2 days. If you do not give your muscles adequate rest, this may result in further tissue breakdown and possible injury. When it comes to building muscle, sometimes less is more. And this is especially the case after a workout where you have pushed your limits. Give yourself a couple days of rest before working the same muscle groups again. This will help you to achieve your fitness goals faster because your body will be ready to go within a couple of days.
After a strenuous workout, be sure to drink lots of water. Your body loses a lot of fluids during a strenuous workout that need to be replaced as soon as possible. The human body is made up mostly of water and when you are dehydrated, it can throw off many of your regulatory processes. Adequate water intake will ensure that the nutrients you consume are being properly transported throughout your body. This will help to speed up your recovery.
Eat Protein and Carbs
Just as water intake is important, so is nutrient intake. Do not skip meals after a strenuous workout. Be sure to eat within a couple of hours of a tough workout. Your body will need adequate protein and carbohydrates to do the work of repairing and building muscles, and keeping you energetic.
Cooling down properly is essential after a strenuous workout. If you are exercising intensely, be sure to cool down after the activity. For example, if you are cycling uphill for the majority of your workout, be sure to finish your workout by slowly reducing the intensity of your activity. Cycle more slowly or on flat land before you come to a complete stop. It is important for your body to both warm up and cool down slowly.
Stretching before a workout is often talked about. But it is just as important to stretch after a workout, especially a workout that has taken a lot out of you. Immediately after your workout, when your muscles are still warm, stretch them gently while breathing deeply. This will help your muscles to repair and recover more quickly.
Choose Low-Key Activities
If you really feel sore after a strenuous workout, you will want to give yourself a day or two of downtime for those muscle groups. However, it is helpful to choose a low-key activity in the meantime that circulates your blood, such as walking or biking. This helps with tissue repair and speeds your recovery.
To speed recovery after a strenuous workout, tune into the needs of your body. Adequate rest, proper cooling down and stretching, and adequate water and nutrient intake are all essential ways to help your body recover in time for your next workout.