Want to get into shape?Some of the mostimportant steps you cantake to boost your fitnessdon’t happen in the cardio or strengthphase of your workout, but during therecovery stage. When you exercisehard, you break down muscle fibres,which then heal and become strongerWhile this process is happening, yourmuscles may feel sore. Luckily, painfrom today’s workout needn’t be anexcuse to skip tomorrow’s trainingif you follow these tips.
A smart Post Exercise Routine Will Help You Rebound Faster and Reap Greater Fitness Rewards From Every Workout Photo Gallery
Having a sports massage after a workout willimprove blood flow and nutrient deliveryto your muscles, which clears out wasteproducts and breaks down scar tissue. Theresult is your muscles don’t feel so stiff andyou can exercise more often. ‘A good sportsmassage not only reduces muscle tightness,but improves posture and prevents injury,’says Evelyn Kummer, sports massagetherapist at TenPilates (tenpilates.com).
Get to grips with a foamroller. This nifty bit of kit is a greatDIY massage tool, too. Find a selectionof rollers at physicalcompany.co.uk.
2. LOOSEN UPA
A post-workout stretch will help yourmuscles repair after exercise. ‘When youstretch a muscle, tension in the fibresincreases, which helps realign entangledmuscle fibres and speeds up recovery,’ saysKummer. And by increasing blood circulationand lymph flow, stretching also reduces thelactic acid build-up that induces fatigue.
Don’t want to stretch after training? Work stretching into yourlife by limbering up after breakfast or
before going to bed.
3. MOVE A LITTLE
Science shows that following a hard trainingsession with a day of light activity aidsrecovery by boosting circulation and flushingout toxins. ‘Active recovery is very effectiveat reducing muscle lactate levels,’ saysBarbara Bailey, personal trainer at Pure Gympuregym.com). Opt for a low-intensityactivity, such as walking.QUICK FIX: Alternate between a hotand cold shower post-workout – it willboost blood flow around your body.
After a long workout, use herbal lotions toease achy joints. ‘Never underestimate thepower of aroma!’ says Noella Gabriel, Elemisdirector of product development. ‘If you’resuffering from muscle aches, rosemary, pineand thyme essential oils are very soothing.’ Alternatively, lavender lotions have analgesic properties that can remedy almost any pain. Comfrey creams are highly effective at stimulating tissue repair, and juniper oil boasts a diuretic action that reduces the painof muscle spasms.
Add Elemis Aching Muscle Super Soak, (£34.50; timetospa.co.uk) to your bath for instant relief. Bliss.
5. HIT THE SACK
Having a day off is one of the simplest andmost effective ways to recover. ‘If you’retraining five or more times per week, a restday will work wonders,’ says Bailey. ‘It willgive your body time to relax and repairbefore you train again.’
Go to bed early. Your bodyreleases human growth hormoneduring sleep, which aids muscle repair.
6. CHOW DOWN
When you work out, your body usesglycogen for fuel, which is stored in yourmuscles. To refill these stores and helpyour muscles recover better, eat somecarbohydrate and protein within an hour ofexercise. ‘Refuelling quickly will rapidly helpreplenish glycogen, stimulate insulin andimprove your next performance,’ says Bailey.
Drink a recovery shake,ideally with whey protein, as whey isabsorbed quickly into the bloodstream.