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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 August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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