How to Take Care of Your Body After a Hard Workout

Dirt of the Day

Going to the gym should leave you energized and full of positive energy for the rest of the day, so if you’re exhausted, sore and a bit moody you might be doing it all wrong. Here are a few tips that should get you feeling like Wonder Woman again.

Stretch it off

We know, it hurts. You just want to stop moving altogether to forget about the pain. If you feel like you need to play the blame game, point the finger at lactic acid. While you exercise, this chemical compound is released by the muscles, and this makes us feel sore.

But just five to ten minutes of stretching can make a difference, as it helps disperse the lactic acid and make some of the pain go away. In addition, stretching helps elongate the muscles, which is essential to repair muscle damage.

Don’t starve yourself

Whether you’re at the gym because you want to tone up, lose a few pounds or just to stay healthy, the rule of thumb is eating after training. Don’t eat before, so you won’t feel sick and tired while you do those crunches, but get something nutritious and delicious to eat afterwards.

Your body needs all the energy it can get now, as it starts the process of recovering, repairing tissue and getting stronger for the next session, so make sure you eat something within 60 minutes of the end of your training.

Water is your best friend

You’re sweating for a good cause — yourself! But as you sweat, you’re also dehydrating your body. And that makes it harder for you to recover and get those muscles at optimum efficiency.  It’s almost like drinking alcohol. For every glass of wine, another glass of water. So drink about 20 to 24 oz of water for every workout hour you put your body through.

Get a massage

Ok, maybe you don’t need us to tell you to get a massage. You’re probably queueing right now to get one. But if you’re not, go ahead and do it. This can reduce muscle soreness, promote blood flow and induce a wonderful state of relaxation in your whole body. Self Myofascial Release is a type of massage that focuses on recovery for athletes and it is used to remove scar tissue and adhesions in the muscle.

Give your feet a break

Feet and hands often swell or hurt after working out. It might be because they’re always taking the biggest pressure or it might be because of bad shoes or bad equipment. Either way, a good way to relax your feet after training is using contrast baths, which means alternating cold and hot water, in intervals of about 20 minutes. Massage thoroughly afterwards, put on some comfortable shoes and lift your feet up. You’ll be back in shape in no time.

Best way out: drink chocolate milk!

Gatorade had its glory days, now it’s time for chocolate milk to shine. This might sound like a cruel joke, but it’s true. The carbohydrates and protein count in this divine drink, as well as the calcium, sodium and sugar prevent dehydration and was proven to increase performance in athletes. So next time you reach for the chocolate milk after training, you shouldn’t feel guilty. You’re making the right choice for your body.

Working out should be fun and uplifting. If you’re feeling like you’ve lived through a hurricane when all you did was jump rope you’re either really behind your training or you’re just not recovering the right way. So eat, drink, indulge in a bit of massage and stretch those muscles!

 

Uma Campbell
I am a freelance writer from Southern California. I love writing about yoga, natural medicine and home decor. When I'm not writing I like to find new jewelry tutorials and practice making my own.

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