Did you know, that what you do after a workout is just as important as what you do during it? You can commit yourself to quality gym time, sweat up a storm, work your muscles to atrophy and still not reach your weight loss or fitness goals. Here are 8 post-workout habits that will aid in recovery and ultimately help you reach your fitness goals.
1. Keep it Cool
According to an association, abruptly ending your workout is one of the worst things you can do. Exercise elevates the heart rate and causes blood vessels to expand, so a sudden end to intense activity can lead to a light-headed feeling or injury. Instead of immediately walking away from workouts, walk it out. Take deep breaths through your nose until your breathing returns to normal. This will give your body a chance to calm down, from the adrenaline rush exercise can induce.
2. Stretch it Out
In general, stretching is good for your muscles. A study published by Harvard School of Health lists, improved flexibility, mobility, and range of motion, as few benefits of contortionism. Done after physical activity (while muscles are still warm and limber) stretching brings increased oxygen and blood circulation to muscles. Stretching helps disperse lactic acid build-up and aids in muscle recovery. In all, it’s a good way to avoid sore muscles and feelings of regret for visiting the gym.
3. Clean Bodies Piece of Mind
Ever heard of staphylococcus? Commonly known as staph (infections), staphylococci consist of over 30 types of bacteria. Staph can live almost anywhere and be transferred from person to person, or via objects — like clothing, towels and gym equipment. When you exercise pores open to allow sweat out, and because pores are sort of like vents, things can get in too. Gyms — home or public— are riddled with tons of bacteria, and sweaty clothes are the perfect breeding grounds for them. To avoid the risk of bacterial infections, make a habit of changing out of moist fitness gear as soon as possible. If you can’t shower right away, wash your hands and face, wipe away as much moisture as possible, and change into dry clothes.
4. Frequent the Hydration Station
We lose a ton of water, through sweat and breathing while we workout. Right along with water, we lose electrolytes—like potassium and sodium. So, if we lose those things, it makes sense to replace them or risk dehydration and its negative effects on our bodies. Cramps, muscle spasms, headaches, and dizziness don’t exactly sound like a good time. Proper hydration is important during workouts, as it, “lubricates the entire body, ” but is especially important post-workout.
5. Snack Wisely
Add fuel to your tank within 15–30 minutes of completing your workouts. Experts believe that the sooner you refuel your body, and replenish the glycogen levels broken the faster muscles can recover. Bananas recommended for their healthy dose of carbohydrates, and potassium, are a quick and easy choice. If bananas are not your thing, try a handful of nuts, or post-workout supplement for better & firm results.
6. Fill Up Time
Aim for a good serving of lean protein, some healthy fat and carb sources and plenty of micronutrients in the form of fresh vegetables. Provide adequate nutrients to your body to help with strength, recovery and muscle growth. Make sure to have both protein and carbohydrates. Both are important to overall muscle health so, don’t skimp on either.
7. Don’t Stop Moving
A body in motion stays in motion. Keep your blood flowing with light stretches, or leisurely walks. No heavy chores as this point, as you would not want to strain or overwork muscles. The idea as that constant motion increases blood circulation and allows nutrients to be efficiently dispersed throughout your body.
Sleep is the time when our bodies repair themselves. The REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep is actually a key component in muscle repair. During this stage, blood flow to muscles is increased and the human growth hormone is secreted. Muscles are knit back together, and glycogen stores are replenished. Nutrients carried in part by the water we made sure to replenish, arrive where they need to be, and all is well when we wake up. So do your body a favour and get the recommended seven to eight hours of beauty rest.
So what have we learned? Hydration is key, but healthy snacks are also key and so is sleep, movement and good hygiene practices. Hopefully, that post-workout habits can directly affect your exercise results and that proper nutrition, hydration and nutrition can really be a boost to the outcome you seek.