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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.

More by this author

Scott Christ

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

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Last Updated on January 3, 2020

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

 I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

 2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

7. Positive people smile a lot!

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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8. People who are positive are great communicators.

They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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