Muscle aches following intense exercise are very normal, but we must look after our body in a way that allows muscle recovery if we want to get the most from each workout and avoid injury. Here are 7 muscle recovery activities to do after intense exercise, to alleviate pain and look after our muscles.
Getting Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause a lack of energy, meaning intense exercise is harder and recovery time is longer. Take any steps you can to get enough sleep, which should be around 8 hours a night. Maintain a good routine and find what works best for you to have a good night’s sleep. Having an old, worn mattress can be detrimental to muscle recovery, so ensure your mattress is comfortable and supports your body. The Zoma mattress is made to enhance athletic performance; order the mattress online here.
As the body is made up of so much water, we need to re-hydrate once we have exercised. Intense exercise can cause us to lose plenty of hydration through sweat, meaning we need to stay hydrated and replace these fluids. On average, we should be consuming 2 liters of water in a day, but this should be increased during intense exercise, especially if you tend to sweat a lot.
Filling your body with the right foods will aid with muscle recovery. There is no use doing intense exercise if you are heading home to a McDonalds. You should also avoid any fad diets, as these won’t provide enough calories for proper nutrition. Your body needs enough calories to fully recover after those intense workouts, meaning plenty of protein and carbs. If you need some post-workout nutrition inspiration, check out Healthline’s post.
Ice baths have been proven to aid in muscle recovery, especially following intense workout regimes. Many of the leading athletes across the world take ice baths, but be warned, they can be unpleasant. Ice baths are proven to work, so if you can stand the cold, give it a go. If ice baths aren’t your thing or aren’t available, try contrast hydrotherapy in your shower at the gym. This consists of using both hot and cold water to alleviate muscle pain. Stand in a warm shower for around 60 seconds, then blast yourself with cold water for 30 seconds, and repeat.
Sports massages are a great way to relax those tense muscles and quicken muscle recovery. Sports massages are recommended once weekly, and more if needed. Your therapist will speak to you about what works best for your body. These massages can flush toxins away, relieving tense, achy muscles and leaving you feeling much more relaxed after your intense workouts.
Don’t Neglect Rest Days
Working out day after day may seem like a good idea, but this isn’t good for your muscle recovery. Rest days are needed to get stronger; your days in the gym aren’t what builds your strength, your strength comes from rest and recuperation. Be sure not to rest too much either, as this will negatively impact your progress. Completing intense workouts 3 times a week, in 60-minute intervals is enough to see real changes and allow muscle recovery.
Never neglect the stretching! Many newbies don’t stretch before and after working out, but this should always be incorporated into your workout time. You can find warm-up and cool-down stretches online that are easy to follow. This will improve muscle recovery and reduce lactic acid build-up in the muscles.
Intense exercise is a fantastic way to lose weight and improve muscle strength, but the aches and pains after intense exercise can be hard to live with. Follow this guide to look after your muscles while undergoing an intense exercise regime.