Did you know that your strength and repair gains happen in the time between workouts? In fact, neglecting proper rest and recuperation can actually weaken even the strongest of athletes. Getting ample rest after a workout can be as important as the workout itself and is vital to improve your recovery and overall performance. Here are seven post-workout recovery tips you should keep in mind whether you are a beginner or seasoned athlete.
- Get high-quality sleep.
Quality sleep is important to short-term recovery. Make sure you are getting ample quality sleep, especially if you are doing intense training.
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
After strenuous physical training, one of your biggest adversaries to recovery is dehydration. Try to drink at least 20-24 ounces of water for each hour of exercise that you do.
- Cool down.
A short cool-down after your workout will help draw out excess inflammatory fluids from your muscles.
Compression techniques such as foam-rolling and massage can help move soreness-generating fluids out of your muscles as well as loosen tight spots from your fatigued muscles.
- Get your blood flowing again.
Good blood circulation of stressed muscles will help speed your muscle recovery. Besides doing post-workout cool-downs, try walking, taking an easy bike ride or light stretching. Other techniques that can help stimulate blood flow include alternating between cold and hot water in your post-workout shower, ice compression or ice baths after long runs or hard weight-training and doing light extended cardio the day after a strenuous workout.
- Eat protein in the morning.
After your night-long fast, your body will need nutrients to repair and recharge itself. Eating a high-protein breakfast will give your muscles what they need to repair and rebuild — and, it may help reduce cravings later in the day.
- Cut back on your alcohol intake.
Research suggests that more than one or two drinks post-workout can reduce your body’s ability to recover.
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