3 Ways to Recover from Your Workout
We’ve all been there. You had a great workout yesterday, but you woke up today feeling like you could hardly walk. But the good news is this: soreness and discomfort after working out isn’t a given. If you take a few simple steps before and after your sweat session you can reduce the amount of soreness you experience the next day.
Eating a post-workout meal or drinking a recovery smoothie with a good balance of protein and carbohydrates can help restore your muscles by repairing damaged muscle fibers. Likewise, drinking plenty of water makes it easier for your muscles to recover. After all, experts suggest that our muscles are made up of about 75 percent water. Eating and drinking aren’t your only post-workout recovery options. From Epsom salt healing to proper cool down procedures, these three techniques provide the best before, during and after approaches to combat muscle soreness and pain:
1. Cool Down, Stretch and Roll
If you’re really pushing yourself in the gym, on your bike, on a hiking trail or in a pool, it’s not a good idea to abruptly go from panting and sweating to standing still in the shower or sitting in your car. Just as warming up helps prepare your muscles for activity by dilating blood vessels and raising muscle temperature for ideal flexibility, cooling down allows your heart rate to gradually lower and your blood vessels to begin contracting.
This allows you to gently transition your body and muscles from a period of intense exercise to a normal restful state while reducing any lactic acid that may have built up in your muscles during your workout. This, in turn, reduces the amount of soreness you’ll feel later. Cool down methods include:
- Gradually slowing your activity: Is cardio your workout? Continue what you’re doing at a slower pace for the last three to five minutes of your workout, gradually slowing the pace.
- Stretching: This is also a great way to cool down, especially when you’re working out with weights. Stagnant stretches performed while standing, sitting or lying down signal your muscles that the hard work is over for now. Avoid strenuous stretches or bouncing while you stretch, which places undue strain on joints by applying pressure in the wrong direction.
- Foam Rollers: Some athletes believe self-massaging with a foam roller before strenuous exercise is better for relieving muscle soreness and preventing injuries, but others like using them after a workout as well, particularly if they’re feeling tight or sore in a particular area.
2. Soak Your Pain Away
Whether you experience pain from a strained muscle or soreness caused by an intense sweat session, post-workout discomfort sets in at different times for different people and for different activities. Regardless of whether you feel sore immediately after your workout or hours later, you can take steps to nip any pain in the bud. Soaking in a hot Epsom salt bath instead of taking a shower can work wonders for sore muscles. Epsom salts contain electrolytes that help restore muscles’ delicate electrochemical balance to relax contracted muscles while decreasing inflammation.
No time for a bath? You don’t have to soak to enjoy the benefits of Epsom salt. An Epsom salt rub provides all the same benefits to help you start fighting muscle pain immediately, no matter where you are. This topical remedy is ideal for on-the-go application.
3. Stay Healthy with All-Natural Plant-Based Remedies
Topical aloe vera is a go-to for burns and other skin pain, but its healing powers go beyond the surface of the skin to provide benefits for the muscles as well. Using aloe vera on particularly sore areas after a workout is helpful in minimizing recovery pain.
Herbs such as chamomile and lavender may also help, but Arnica Montana may be the best herb for muscle pain. Lorraine Hughes, an herbal practitioner at Empowered by Health Clinic in Fishkill, New York, suggests topically applied Arnica as a solution for post-workout muscle discomfort. In fact, massage therapists often use it as a go-to topical remedy for tight, sore muscles.
PROcure offers two solutions that incorporate these plant-based remedies into topical treatments. The PROcure Epsom Salt Rub includes aloe vera, while the PROcure Bruise Remedy includes Arnica. Both gels come in conveniently portable containers that are easy to stow in your gym bag or locker for on-the-go relief of soreness, pain and bruising. Combine these topicals with proper cool down procedures and Epsom salt soaks to see best results.