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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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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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