Your post-workout routine may be just as important as your pre-workout routine or even your workout itself. What you do after your workout can maximize your results and help your body recover. It can also help you have a better relationship with physical activity so it’s not something you dread or get anxious about.
Essentials of a Healthy Post-Workout Routine
1 – Cool Down
Ease your body into the process of stopping movement. If you stop exercising too suddenly, you might feel weak or dizzy. Your body needs time to adjust and slow down your heart rate. If you are running, slow down to a moderate walk. If you are doing body weight exercises in your living room, switch to easier movements to end your workout.
2 – Stretch
Stretching after your workout will help decrease soreness in your muscles, accelerate the post-workout recovery process, increase your range of motion, decrease your risk for injury and relax tension in your body.
3 – Drink Lots of Water
Your body loses water during a workout through sweat. Replenish your water supply by drinking up! Staying hydrated will also help reduce post-workout muscle soreness and increase muscle flexibility. If you don’t like drinking plain water, try adding pieces of real fruit or squeezing the juices into your cup. You can also use zero or low-calorie drink mixes.
4 – Eat Something Nutritious
You don’t want to sabotage a great workout by binging on something unhealthy afterword. You won’t feel as good. Instead, munch on something that is nutritious and nourishing to your body.
Try some of these post-workout snack combos:
- Banana or apple + nut butter
- Whole grain crackers with reduced-fat cheese
- Low-sugar Greek yogurt with granola
- Turkey and cheese roll-ups
- Tuna on whole-wheat bread
5 – Let Your Body Recover
Finally, give your body time to recover. Don’t jump into another vigorous workout a few hours later. This can increase your risk of injury and increase muscle soreness. Instead, let yourself rest but try not to be completely sedentary the rest of the day.
Your post-workout routine can either maximize your workout or reduce its effectiveness. When you finish, give your body rest and time to recover, along with the nutrients it needs to rebuild. You might find that you feel much better after your workouts, thus helping you not dread it before even getting started. Take care of your body at every step of the process!