A post-workout routine is important, although an often-ignored part of any fitness regime. After any high-intensity workout, your body craves for some care and cool off time to recover. This recovery period doubles the benefits of the exercise, and as said, ‘a little pamper and care goes a long way.’
Before heading on to discussing things to do after a workout, it is mention-worthy to get an appropriate workout gear. A fitness gear lets you work out comfortably and protects your body from injuries. It doesn’t mean you are required to spend a huge amount on designer fitness wear. You can get less-expensive gear too. For example, a sports t-shirt and women bottoms tights paired up with trainers would do perfectly.
It is quite a common practice among the people hitting the gym to leave the place as soon as they get done with the last reps. This is the worst thing you can do to your body. Your body needs to relax and cool down. Studies show that people who follow certain post-workout routines like stretches and cool-down exercises experience better workout results much earlier than those who fail to do so. Stretches and cool-down exercises help in curing muscle soreness. It further helps you prepare for another workout session the following day.
So, if you wish to reap the maximum benefits of the workout you do each day, keep scrolling to know about some of the post-workout essentials.
- Stretch and cool down:
As mentioned earlier, your body needs stretches and cool-down exercises after an intensive round of the workout.
As soon as you are done with the last reps or finish walking the last mile on your treadmill, you need to bring your heart rate down; this is what cooling off your body means. Simply put, when you leave off abruptly after the last rep of an intensive workout, this confuses your body, particularly your heart. This rapid change damages the muscles and your heart. Therefore cooling off is important. There is a myriad of ways to do this. You can walk or jog at a slow pace, jump in a pool for a few lazy laps, or indulge in some relaxing yoga poses. Your workout needs proper closure, and this is the best way to do it.
Consequently, it is important to warm up before and prepare your body for the workout, many fitness trainers advise performing a set of stretches right after their cool off routine. Often, both the routines are merged and performed. If you miss out on the stretches, it is quite possible you may end up with a torn or a stiff muscle. Stretches enable your body to elongate while the muscles are still warm due to the workout. Try and target large muscle groups like glutes, hamstrings, core, and shoulders while stretching.
- You deserve a massage!
After the grueling workout session, you do need a pat on your back for surviving. But this isn’t enough. Your muscles need some encouraging pats, too, and this calls for a massage. You are fortunate if you have someone by your side who is ready to acknowledge the hard work done by you at the gym and will willingly give you a massage. A massage not only soothes your aching and stiff muscles but also strengthens them.
During the intensive work out, your muscles get a build-up of lactic acid. A massage to relieve this build-up may seem a little painful initially, but it will be rewarding once you get your muscles relaxed.
Not everyone is lucky with free massages, and for such people, there are foam rollers. These rollers do look a little orthodox. But once you start using them, you will get hooked in no time.
If you are still wondering how to use the foam rollers, click here and get rid of those tiny kinks and knots after a workout.
Rehydration is one of the essential elements of any post-workout routine, and unfortunately, it is not taken seriously. How will your body manage to recover without being rehydrated? Your body loses water during the workout in the form of sweat. It is your body’s way of cooling itself. If you fail to replenish the lost water and nutrients, your body will lose the electrolyte balance.
Drinking plain water can get boring. Taking a fancy bottle to the gym may look exciting, but drinking plain water may not be something everyone looks forward to. The good news is that listed below are some liquids that rehydrate your body the same way plain water does.
• Chocolate milk. According to a study, chocolate milk is known to be more beneficial in rehydrating the body than plain water. Who knew chocolate milk was this beneficial? You lose electrolytes during the workout, which may cause an array of symptoms like fatigue, mental confusion, and muscle cramps. Chocolate milk can help with all of this and also satisfy your tastebuds.
• Coconut water. We all know how beneficial coconuts are. Coconut water is another excellent way of replenishing the lost electrolytes after a grueling workout. Unlike Gatorade and other sports drinks, coconut water stocks up on the loss of water, nutrients, and is low in sodium. This calls for a win-win situation.
• Black or green tea. A cup of tea post-workout helps in fat oxidation. Tea is high in antioxidants and helps in treating muscle soreness and strengthens them. The athletes who consumed a cup of tea post-workout were found to have higher levels of antioxidants and lower cortisol levels. The tea also promises delayed onset muscle soreness for athletes.
After the workout, your body yearns for sustenance, just like it needs to be rehydrated. One of the most common post-workout practices is having protein shakes. You must have seen people preparing protein shakes in the gym locker rooms, that’s because their bodies crave for it. The protein helps the muscles to kick-off their build-up process after being exhausted. You can also take natural alternatives like Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, or beef jerky instead of protein shakes. The idea is to give your muscles the energy they require.
- Shower and wash your gym clothes:
Do you like the idea of being around someone who smells os sweat? No one does. This means that a post-workout shower is a must. It cleanses the body off the sweat and all the other toxins released with it. This means no bad odor anymore. The same goes for your gym clothes. Do not throw them away in your gym bag and re-use them the next day. Just like your body, the clothes need washing too. You have no idea what is waiting to grow on your wet, stinking clothes after you work out. A nice wash for your body and clothes ensures everything remains clean and smells good.
The Final Word
The elements mentioned above are some of the essentials of a post-workout regime. Most of them are common sense and should be followed without any second thoughts. Prioritizing your hygiene is as essential as your fitness. Just make sure that nothing deviates you from your fitness and after-workout routine.