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9 Tips To Recover Faster After A Workout

9 Tips To Recover Faster After A Workout

Anyone who has pushed their body physically knows about post-workout soreness, stiffness, inflammation, and swelling. For many people, the fear of pain is enough to keep them off the track or out of the gym. However, with a bit of prevention, you won’t wake up the morning following an event or tough activity unable to more. After all, exercise shouldn’t cause additional pain after the workout is over. To make sure you keep smiling for days following a workout, here are nine ways to help your body recover after you’ve pushed it to the limit to keep riding that post-workout endorphin high.

Yoga

Stretching is a great way to loosen tight muscles; and what better way to do this than with yoga? Yoga helps increase your flexibility, stabilize your core, and strengthen your balance all in one activity. Certain moves in yoga that elevate sore legs also help drain the blood from your lower extremities to help facilitate circulation. After a long run, blood can pool in the legs causing swelling. Try lying on your back with your legs perpendicular against a wall for at least five minutes after your next hard workout to help drain the blood from your legs.

Green Tea

Green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that not only help reduce your chances of heart disease and cancer, but also reduce muscle damage from an intense workout. In fact, unfermented green tea contains the highest level of these amazing antioxidants found among natural foods, with 27% of it’s makeup being catechins. You can drink iced green tea before your workouts to receive a boost, or as a recovery drink to help heal and soothe tight muscles.

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Ice

If you’ve been an athlete for very long, you’ve probably heard of, and may have experienced, the ice bath. While not the most pleasant of practices, ice baths certainly can help reduce swelling after you’ve beat your body up with a monster workout. Many marathoners and endurance cyclists swear by ice baths after a grueling race or long training day.

Now, you don’t always have to submerge yourself in the freezing concoction. If you have more localized soreness, an ice pack can also do the job.

Anti-inflammatory foods

Your diet can be your best friend or worst enemy when working out. During periods of intense training, it’s good to use your foods to help your body instead of hurt it. So, cut out the highly processed, box meals, or preservative-laden offerings from a fast food restaurant, and try to get more foods that fight inflammation into your diet. After all, food can be your best medicine in fighting fatigue and muscle stiffness.

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Here are some great anti-inflammatory food choices:

Also, make sure you properly fuel before and after your workouts. Try to get some healthy protein and carbohydrate sources within an hour of your workout so that your body can start rebuilding and replenishing fatigued muscles right away.

Sleep

Sleep is like hitting the reset button. While you sleep, your body repairs and heals itself. Many elite athletes sleep longer than the typical 7 to 8 hours, and instead utilize more time in REM sleep to repair their body from intense workouts. Even if you aren’t pulling an Olympic-sized training schedule, don’t neglect your sleep. It may be one of your best defenses for recovery that you can employ.

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Massage

A relaxing massage after a workout unquestionably feels amazing, but it also is a powerful tool to help in recovery. Researchers found that massage reduces cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation and pain. They also discovered that a good rub down increased mitochondrial activity, which sped up the healing process at a cellular level. If you run any races, make sure to get in line at the free massage tents afterwards. Or, just indulge yourself in a professional treatment at a spa.

Hydrate

Everyone knows that to get through a workout, you need to hydrate. However, it is just as important to keep drinking after the workout is finished. Water is essential to assist your body in removing waste products, transport nutrients, and regulate your body temperature. Sports drinks or coconut water can help replace needed electrolytes, helping to further aid in your recovery.

Cool down

Everyone understands the importance of warming up your muscles to prevent injury, but the cool down should also not be overlooked. You should never stop your workout abruptly. You need to slowly, over a period of about 10 minutes, bring your body back to a relaxed state. Proper cool downs aid in circulation and prevent blood pooling and swelling, which can contribute to soreness later.

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Compression and Elevation

While we covered the importance of elevating your legs after a hard workout to help with circulation, compression gear can also give you this benefit if you don’t have time to lay on your back for a few minutes with your legs up a wall. Compression gear has been found to have a moderate effect on certain aspects of recovery. The most important benefits included reducing muscular swelling and pain. However, if you have a basketball game soon after a long run, they also found that compression gear can lessen the time until you gain your peak vertical jumping ability; for what it’s worth.

For athletes who want to avoid the post-exercise gimp of pain, small efforts can provide big relief. While no one solution will work every time, the more combinations you can incorporate, the less pain you will encounter. And, while exercise brings many benefits, facing a painful few days following a tough workout can cause anyone to shy away from it. Thankfully, if you know the proper steps to take to give your body all it needs to heal, you can train harder and reach your fitness goals faster without the suffering.

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Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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