When it comes to exercise, what you do after your workout can be just as essential to your health and wellness as what you do during the training itself. When you fail to take care of yourself after a workout, you put yourself at risk for a whole host of ailments, including muscle soreness and fatigue. Here are five ways to optimize your post-workout routine.

1. Be Sure To Stretch and Cool-Down

Most fit people know that it’s ideal to always stretch and enjoy an excellent cool-down session after exercise. However, a lot of people end up skipping this crucial part of any exercise routine. Many busy people will skip their post-workout stretch so they can get out of the gym and back to their office or home faster.

When you don’t properly stretch after a workout, you set yourself up for soreness or even injury. No matter how much of a time crunch you might find yourself in, stretching needs to be an essential part of any post-workout routine.

2. Use Essential Oil

Consider consuming a smoothie that features some of the best essential oil blends for post-workout recovery. Many essential oils are perfect for helping the body recover after exercise. For example, marjoram oil works to prevent sore muscles and can be taken internally or applied topically. Lemon oil can help to prevent dehydration and encourage detoxification. Peppermint oil is useful in keeping your energy levels high no matter how grueling your workout was, which can be hugely helpful if you have to go back to work after the gym.

3. Be Sure To Get Clean

If you find yourself skipping the shower in favor of baby wipes or a thick deodorant application, you might be setting yourself up for blemishes. The sweat that accumulates on our skin during exercise has the potential to clog our pores. You can skip washing your hair in favor of using dry shampoo if you’re in a time crunch, but be sure to take a quick shower and wash your face to prevent breakouts. Whether hot or cold, a post-workout shower is essential for making a full recovery, both mentally and physically.

4. It’s Important To Refuel

You don’t have to eat a giant meal after your gym session. You might not have any desire to do so. However, it’s a good idea to have a small snack after a workout. Not only will this prevent hunger or feelings of lightheadedness, but it will help in muscle growth and recovery. Try having a snack that incorporates protein and healthy fats, such as turkey and avocado on whole-wheat bread.

5. Think About How You Feel

Many people find themselves in exercise ruts where they go to the gym each day but never feel like they’re getting results or making significant changes. After a workout, please take a moment to reflect on what you did and how it made you feel. If that same routine you’ve been following for months is starting to feel too easy, then it might be time to try something a bit more intense. When you take a moment to reflect on your workout, you can figure out what needs to be adjusted and what you can do differently the next time you hit the gym.

Remember, your post-workout routine is vital to your health. If you want to see changes and to ensure that your workouts are effective, be sure to follow these tips.