If you have started a workout regime or have ramped up your current level of activity, you may be sore and not feel like you can continue. It is normal to have soreness after a hard workout or a change in activity levels. When I have hard workouts, I have a few things that I do regularly to manage my post-workout recovery. I am not a licensed physical therapist or a doctor but I will tell you about what has worked for me.
Give some or all of these post-workout recovery tips a try:
1. Stretching follow every workout
Just as it is important to warm-up before you start working out for injury prevention, it is important to stretch following your workout. After a workout, a longer static hold of a stretch will elongate the muscles used. For instance, if you go for a run, you want to stretch your hamstrings by reaching for your toes and breathing deeply. On every exhale reach just a little bit farther.
2. Staying Hydrated
Replacing the fluids lost during exercise is important. You will want to make sure you drink water before, during and after working out. Depending on if you are a salty sweater or the length of the workout, you may need to replenish your electrolytes too. IF you struggle with drinking water, check out my tips for getting in enough water every day. To replace lost electrolytes, sports drinks and coconut water are popular right now. I personally love coconut water. Make sure to keep drinking. Staying hydrated will also flush out the lactic acid build-up and other toxins.
3. BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
BCAAs feed your muscles. Using them helps decrease muscle soreness dramatically. I personally use Scivation Xtend BCAAs. It is a 2 for 1 product. It has BCAAs and electrolytes. I use the plain but other say that the flavors are great. If you decide to go with the raw, adding lemon juice helps with the taste. I decided to go with a powdered drink version over a capsule because the powders tend to have more BCAAs per serving. If you want to learn more about BCAAs, GNC has an informative article: What are BCAAs and How Do They Work.
4. Ice Baths
I love an ice bath following a long run or a really long and hard workout. While this seems crazy, it works. You’ve seen professional and college athletes dunking themselves in tubs of ice water. You will work hard just like them and need some help recovering.
How to do an ice bath:
Buy 10-20 pounds of ice. Fill the tub with cold water. Get in the water then dump the ice in the bath if I have help. If you don’t have help, dump the ice then get in. You should stay submerged up to your waist for 12 minutes. You will take this bath in your workout clothes. Some of my friends put on jackets and socks. They even brew something hot to drink. I tend to set the timer and read for 12 minutes. Give it a try. You will feel better after you get out. Remember to come back to room temperature before taking a warm-hot shower.
Getting enough sleep is very important for recovery. You have heard it before but its true. Getting the needed amount of sleep is key to recovery. I will admit I’m not great at following this advice myself. When you plan your schedule, take a look and see how you can get enough sleep both before and after a hard workout. If you are like me and like to do two-a-days sometime, resting will be very important. I try to get 6-8 hours of sleep a night. According to my Fitbit, I don’t get that much sleep. I slowly increase the amount of rest I get by setting a go to bed and a time to wind down alarm on my phone and Fitbit. Give it a try. Let me know if you feel better.
None of the tips above is the cure-all to soreness but are tips for post-workout recovery.
You will still be sore when you workout hard or start a new program. The goal will be to keep you from being so sore that you can’t keep a regular schedule. Some soreness is a sign of hard work. If you have pain or discomfort, consult a medical professional. If you have severe soreness only on one side, consult a medical professional. Please be smart about pain, discomfort, and soreness. Keep up the good work and give your body the needed assistance to perform in your next workout.
Telling you to treat your body well and it will make your proud,
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