5 Scientifically Proven Ways To Recover From A Workout
Feeling a little sore after crushing it at the gym? Make sure you’re giving your body what it needs to recover and repair muscle tissue. A good recovery regime is just as important as a good workout and will help your body repair itself faster so you can perform better in the future.
Whether you’re feeling achy or on top of the world after a training session - try one of these 5 scientifically proven recovery techniques to get your body pumping for longer.
1. Foam rollers
When your legs feel like they're on fire after a workout, it's time to bring out the foam roller. Foam rolling works on your muscles in a number of positive ways to break up small adhesions, increase flexibility, improve joint function, and help to prevent training injuries.
Use your foam roller before you hit the gym to help your muscles loosen up, and after a workout to flush out lactic acid and toxins. Don’t be afraid to bring it out on rest days as well - using a foam roller for at least 15 minutes a day will keep your muscles stronger so you can train for longer.
2. Ice baths
This might be a tough one to incorporate into your recovery routine in winter, but it's well worth it for the benefits. Ice baths, or cryotherapy, reduce the body's blood flow to help ease inflammation and tissue pain in your sore spots. Especially good if you’ve injured yourself during a workout, ice baths speed up recovery time and are a favorite of many athletes.
Getting started is easy - just buy an ice bag from your local servo, empty it out in your tub, fill with cold water, and dive in. Stay submerged in the ice cold water for around 10 minutes. If it’s your first time experimenting with cryotherapy, take it easy on the ice and slowly add it in the water once you’re already in the tub. Everyone has a different cold threshold and you don’t want to overdo it.
Overdoing it at the gym can make you want to lay in bed all morning to give your precious body a rest. But rather than sleeping in, science suggests going for a nap throughout the day to help your body recover from its workout. Napping for at least 15 - 20 minutes will give your body that essential repair time to ease blood pressure, heart rate, and stress levels.
Besides napping, squeezing in some relaxation time can help your body to recover quicker from a workout. Our bodies are an amazing self-healing mechanism and they just need some time and energy to do their work. Rather than going out or doing chores after a workout, make sure you’re scheduling a time to rest and relax.
According to the functional fitness trainer, Travis Telfer, “Giving yourself some good relaxation time after a workout gives a dual advantage. You’re doing good for your body as well as your mind while speeding up recovery time in the process. Don’t get caught up in stuff that will add more stress to your body, go get a massage, listen to some chill music, or just veg out in front of the telly”.
5. Stay hydrated
If you're often feeling fatigued and sore after the gym, you might not be getting enough water. Research shows that exercising while dehydrated can cause more damage to your muscles and increase the amount of time it takes for your body to repair itself. Make sure you're getting plenty of water both before and after a workout to replenish fluids and give your body what it needs to recover.
While we're on the topic of drinking—if you’re hitting the pub to celebrate your amazing workout, try to stick to just one or two drinks. Studies show that drinking large amounts after a workout can impair your body’s ability to recover and reduce your performance in the future.