Firstly, well done on your workout. Pushing through the pain of exercise can be difficult or even starting a session can be the hurdle. But you made it! So what now? Although exercise can leave us with that feeling of being able to breathe better, sleep better and have more energy, it can be a different story the next day. Tired sore muscles hurt and can prevent us from functioning as per usual.
Recovery after exercise is essential to muscle and tissue repair and strength building. This is even more critical after a heavy weight training session. A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild, and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building. For weight training routines, never work the same muscle groups two days in a row.
To improve your chances of a hard recovery, follow these six top tips:
- Rest. This means getting plenty of good quality sleep as well as considering having a rest day before your next fitness session.
- Nutrition. Eat wholesome healthy food, perhaps a post-exercise shake, and ensure adequate rehydration. Ideally, you should try to eat within 60 minutes of the end of your workout and make sure you include some high-quality protein and complex carbohydrate.
- Compression – although they are not the most sexiest accessory to wear, putting on some compression garments can help your muscles recover from a big workout.
- Stretching. After a tough workout, consider gentle stretching. This is a simple and fast way to help your muscles recover.
- Perform Active Recovery. Easy, gentle movement improves circulation which helps promote nutrient and waste product transport throughout the body. In theory, this helps the muscles repair and refuel faster.
- Get a massage. Massage feels good and improves circulation while allowing you to fully relax. You can also try self-massage and Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles and avoid the heavy sports massage price tag.