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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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