From time to time, we all like to let out our inner athlete. While some of us do so more than others, whether is be in the gym or on the playing field, the surgeon general suggests a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That racks up to 30 minutes per day, for 5 days a week. Do you meet the minimum requirements? We suggest you do AT LEAST this much to maintin your physical health and to avoid injury. Now that you’re feeling inspired, you’re going to need to know how to stay healthy, while getting healthy. This brings us to this article’s topic: what is the best way to recover? Now, there is no doubt that pro athletes have an entire team of professionals helping them stay in optimal condition between games and workouts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get similar results! Here are 5 tips to recover and stay away from pain and injury while working out.
- Refuel Properly – Your body NEEDS the proper nutrients after a workout. While you exercise, your body consumes a lot of fat, carbs, and protein to maintain performance. You are literally starving post-workout! Refuel with plenty of protein and carbohydrates from healthy sources. Avoid heavy fats as they can cause a fancy term known as “gastrointestinal distress”.
- Ice Is Your Best Friend – If you are feeling sore after a workout, put some ice on the spot that hurts. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help with pain due to DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) or for any pre-existing injury that may have been aggravated during exercise. If you’re daring, try an ice bath. (it’s not so bad after a few seconds!)
- Try Regular Alternative Treatments – Pro athletes swear by their chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists. Some pros even credit them as the only way they can make it through a season! Most times, some good muscle work is exactly what you need to keep going.
- Stretch Regularly – Stretching is an underappreciated art. Some people don’t stretch at all until they feel tight. Fact is, you should stretch after every workout. As muscles grow (hypertrophy) they also need to be lengthened. This is done by stretching regularly. It could save you from tendinitis and pain later on.
- R and R Time – This can’t be stressed enough. Give yourself time to recover. I see people who work out 6-7 days a week, oblivious to the fact that they could be doing more harm than good. If your body cannot recover and is not properly nourished, it will begin to use proteins as a fuel source. Since they can’t be stored like carbs and fats are, the protein is taken from your muscles. In some cases, muscle loss can occur. Ensure you are getting enough time away from working out, and enough sleep, to recover optimally.
Anytime you exercise, you do micro-damage to your body. It needs the proper fuel and rest (sleep is great) in order to recover and become stronger. Working out hard is okay, and is needed from time to time, but should always follow with proper rest. Utilize these small tips and your body will thank you!