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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 June 2, 2020

8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important”.

1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

“Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

If you want to learn about some of the golden rules for goal setting that will help you set and achieve your goals successfully check out this article: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

7. Goals Make You Feel Good

Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest!

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

More Tips About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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