Staying in shape requires a lot of discipline and work, but it’s worth it if you want to remain healthy and strong. If you’ve recently been thinking about making more of an effort when it comes to exercise, you might be looking at trying out tougher workout routines. While this can be a great thing to increase your fitness, it’s also important to be aware of the strain these new exercises might put on your body. To make sure you’re not waking up the next day with terrible aches and pains, here are a few tips to help your body recover after a workout:
Eat Right Before and After Your Workout
Eating the right types of food to help you prepare for a workout is important. Your body will use up a lot more energy in a shorter space of time, so it needs the right fuel to keep it going. Of course, you don’t want to start rigorous exercise on a full stomach, so give yourself time to digest a bit first and eat at least an hour before your workout. Good pre-workout foods include fruit smoothies, bananas, yogurt, oats, whole grains and chicken. Post-workout you should try to have a meal with plenty of good carbs (sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal) and protein that will help your body recover.
Warm Bath or Ice?
Whether you apply heat or ice to your body after a workout will depend on how you are feeling. A warm bath post-workout can help to relax the muscles, particularly if you are already beginning to feel tense and achy. However, if you have injured yourself during a workout, applying ice to the affected area is the right action to take. If you can see instantaneous swelling and part of your body feels sore, this is an indication that you have hurt yourself. Ice packs will help reduce inflammation and make you more comfortable. Usually, these injuries aren’t serious, but if you’re still having problems a few days later, you should visit your doctor just in case.
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Warm Up and Warm Down
As well as eating the right things before and after a workout, you need to remember to warm your body up at the start and to let it wind down at the end. Stretching your muscles out can help to reduce the chances of tearing, but doing some light cardio to get your blood pumping to help lubricate your joints is a big help. If you’re not sure about what the best warm-up and warm-down routines are for the type of workout you’re doing, look up advice online.
If you want to start making a bigger effort to reach your fitness goals, make sure you’re helping your body to recover after your workouts with these tips.