A recovery routine is an essential part of your training. Giving your body the time it needs to replenish itself after a good workout not only helps you reduce the effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (or DOMS if you’re in a hurry). It also contributes to building strength, increasing speed and even losing weight. But enough of the theory. Here are a few tried and trusted ways to put into practice.
Your workout cool down
Your cooldown is just as important as your warm up. Taking it easy for a few minutes after your workout allows your body to refocus and bring your heart rate back to a normal level. Something as simple as walking home from the gym offers a perfect way to let your body to cool down, while also burning a few extra calories to boot.
Don’t skip stretching
Stretching is one of the most important parts of your post-workout recovery. Your muscles and tissues can be tight or stiff and stretching helps to maintain their flexibility, as well as minimise cramps and soreness. Try using a foam roller for added effectiveness.
The right nutrition before a workout is essential for burning calories, building muscles and even losing weight. Yet it also has an impact on your recovery too. Grabbing a light snack with the right balance of protein and carbs will give you a boost both during and after exercise. Think bananas, greek yogurt, protein powder, eggs, oats, that kind of thing, ideally consumed around half an hour before your session.
Taking on food or drinks that combine protein and carbs at least 30 minutes after your session is just as important to aiding recovery. A shake or snack will refuel your body, replenish your energy and help to repair your muscles.
Get the sleep you need
A good night’s rest is the next essential part of your recovery routine. In this day and age it’s not always so easy to get the magic eight hours, but sleeping is your body’s favourite way to recover from the rigours of the day. When you’ve drifted off, your cells are hard at work making repairs to your muscular, cardiovascular and immune system.
Going for a cheeky drink after your workout might sound like a nice reward, but your muscles wouldn’t agree. Alcohol fills your system with toxins, which the body then has to flush out when it should be helping your muscles to recover, heal and grow. Instead, pick up a healthy smoothie on your way home and leave the pint or the Pinot Grigio for the weekend.
You’ve probably lost count of the number of times you’ve heard the same advice, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Exercise…lost fluids…feel dehydrated…you know the score. The benefits of water are almost as endless as the articles telling you to drink it, from eliminating the built up of waste to maintaining healthy joints to regulating body temperature.
An active recovery is a low impact, low-intensity session such as swimming, cycling or, as we’ve already mentioned, even walking. If you’ve got time, a Yoga or Pilates class is perfect. Ideally at a premium gym or studio. Whenever and wherever it’s convenient. Sounds good? All you need is the free E² app to book two-hour gym sessions and one-off classes on demand. No membership required.