How to Relax Your Body After a Workout
While the exercise bit of the workout is often viewed as the most important part of the program, how you recover from the muscle stress is just as important, perhaps even more so than the actual workout itself. With poor recovery, you’re doing more harm than good, and you’re taking two steps back and one step forward. To turn the tables, here’s a look at how to best relax after intense routines:
1) Hydration goes a long way
Water is the source of life given it comprises most of our makeup, and you lose a lot of it during exercise, through sweat and other avenues as the body works overtime to keep the body temperature within safe levels. Hydrating afterward is good for cushioning resultant soreness as well as improving strength and flexibility. Many fitness enthusiasts say that you need to take an amount of water equivalent to the difference between your pre and post-work weight while factoring in an extra 50% for urine losses.
2) Sleep works wonders
The importance of sleep extends well beyond the parameters of fitness and recovery, offering an umbrella of benefits across the age divide. For the purpose of today’s topic, getting rest in the form of sleep is important for decreasing physical and emotional stress on the body, with the general recommendation for athletes or overly active individuals being about nine hours. This duration of time allows your body to attain the most restorative part of sleep (REM) for accelerated muscle healing. If you’re finding it hard to get enough hours during the night, you can supplement that with power naps in the day.
3) A message is music to the tired soul as well
Muscles tend to contract a lot as you lift weights, run the treadmill, and generally push the body beyond normal limits, and sometimes they can ‘forget’ to return to their default state and remain tense. A good Hong Kong massage can iron out your woes quite literally, easing stressed muscles back into place while providing that relaxation that’s good for your emotional well-being as well. This type of massage has been used extensively in ChineseMedicine and it has been shown to offer many advantages beyond fitness recovery. For instance, it’s said to improve energy flow in the body, thereby making for a healthier soul.
4) Stretching is just as good after as it is before the routine
Stretching is not given the importance it quite deserves both as a post and pre-workout etiquette. In addition to getting your muscles in the mood for a strenuous workout, stretching can also help climb down the activity hill gradually. Studies have shown it to help reduce soreness around major muscle areas including the hamstrings, quads, and calves. It keeps the blood pumping nicely long enough for the body to cool down to its average activity rate. Last but not least, it’s also important to remember that what goes on after the workout is just as vital as what goes on after. A power meal, if you will, about half-an-hour leading up to the exercise, can cushion from energy drains and set you up for a good recovery. Also, give the body enough time to heal and rest between workouts. Anywhere between two and three days is a good figure for adequate muscle recovery.