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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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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

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:

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.

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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.

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.

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

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!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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