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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

12 Proven Ways To Speed Up Muscle Recovery

12 Proven Ways To Speed Up Muscle Recovery

You know that feeling you get the day after a great workout? Where your body aches, you have trouble walking, and you’re cursing your spin class instructor? That’s your body telling you it has been broken down and needs time to recover. The muscle recovery phase after a workout is when your body rebuilds and re-energizes your muscles. But sometimes your body doesn’t heal quite as fast as you’d like it to.

Here are 12 proven ways to speed up muscle recovery after a tough exercise session.

1. Get 8 Hours of Shut-Eye.

Don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. If you’re one of those people who think you “only need 5 hours,” you’re not giving your body enough time to recover and could be making yourself more prone to injuries in the future. Getting ample sleep is one of the best ways to speed up muscle recovery. So aim for 7-8 hours per night.

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2. Hydrate.

Drinking water after a tough workout can help rid your body of toxins and prevent dehydration. This is important because dehydrated muscles can quickly become painful muscles. Drink a couple liters of water or more on days when you exercise.

3. Drink a Protein Shake.

Research shows that drinking a protein shake before or after a workout may help reduce the severity of muscle soreness and speed up muscle recovery. A 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein is ideal.

4. Apply Muscle Creams.

Having trouble sitting because of yesterday’s workout? Topical creams like IcyHot are effective for soothing muscle pain and helping you recover from a tough exercise session.

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5. Grab Some Aspirin.

Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve the discomfort from sore muscles, which can speed up your recovery time. Don’t use NSAIDS on a consistent basis without getting the okay from your doctor. Rather, use them sparingly when bouts of soreness kick in.

6. Ice, Ice Baby.

Here’s one of the easiest ways to recover from a tough workout: apply an icepack to sore muscles for 20 minutes to help them recover faster.

7. Stretch Every Day. 

Stretching is one of the best things you can do to aid muscle recovery and help you prevent future injuries. Stretching is particularly useful on your off days. If you’re strapped for time, aim for full body stretches and light exercises like squats, lunges, and planks.

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8. Roll Out Sore Muscles.

Foam rollers are cheap and effective tools for breaking up knots and sore spots in your muscles. Research shows that foam rolling breaks up scar tissue and knotting in your fascia, which is important because these knots are often the root cause of sore muscles and joints. So spend a few minutes in the morning and evening rolling out sore spots.

9. Get a Massage.

Getting a massage helps break up scar tissue and ease muscle pain. If you don’t want to dish out the money for a regular massage, trade massages with your spouse or significant other. You can thank us later.

10. Eat a High-Protein Meal.

Research shows that eating protein before bed helps with post-exercise muscle recovery. And chugging a protein shake or eating a high-protein breakfast when you wake up can help reduce food cravings throughout the day. Stick with healthy foods like lean meats, eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal.  

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11. Drink Chocolate Milk.

Here’s a reason to get excited: drinking chocolate milk after a workout is one of the best ways to speed up muscle recovery. A research study proved that chocolate milk is “an effective recovery aid between two exhausting exercise bouts.” Make your own healthy version of chocolate milk by combining milk, raw cocoa powder and a bit of honey or stevia.

12. Drink Cherry Juice.

Drinking cherry juice and cherry supplements post-workout may help reduce the swelling and help your body recover from a tough workout faster.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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