8 Crucial Post-Workout Activities for Both Newbies and Veterans
The most successful athletes and fitness enthusiasts share a common characteristic – they all have a sensible post-workout routine that they follow as faithfully as possible. Their post-workout routines are designed to aid in their faster recovery, allow them to enjoy the pleasurable afterglow of exercise, and even let them socialize with their fellow gym-goers. After all, a commercial gym like LA Fitness isn’t just a place for exercise but it can also be a place for a community where camaraderie can be enjoyed!
But the most important benefit of a safe and effective post-workout routine is its direct effect on your muscle strength and growth on one hand and your muscle soreness on the other hand. Here are eight must-do things that should be included in your post-workout routine.
#1 Always Cool Down
Just as you performed at least five minutes of warm-up exercises, mainly stretching and calisthenics exercises, you should also perform cool down exercises. In fact, it’s the first thing you must do after completing your circuit of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. It’s also must even when your workout focused solely on a series of cardio exercises, such as on a treadmill, an elliptical, and a rowing machine.
Why? Cooling down exercises achieve two purposes for your body:
- These gradually bring down your heart rate from its increased pace to its steady pace.
- These gives your muscles and joints sufficient time to cool down from their heated phase, thus, making a shower so much more effective.
Light cardio exercises for five minutes will do the trick. You can walk on a treadmill at an easy pace for five minutes, for example.
#2 Stretch Your Body
But cooling down is just half the work after exercise. You must stretch your body again because of its physical and mental benefits.
After your workout, your muscles will contract so you must keep them from shrinking. Your post-workout stretching exercises, which are still the ones from your pre-workout routine, keeps your muscles in their contraction phase. In turn, your muscles will have a better capacity to become bigger and stronger, as well as looking better.
Stretching exercises also have other benefits. These include aiding in better blood circulation of blood to the tissues and joints, relaxing the muscles that have been subjected to tension, and aiding in the removal of waste products. In effect, stretching also reduces the level of muscle stiffness and soreness.
#3 Roll Around
But don’t just roll around on the floor although it looks fun either. You should use a foam roller in rolling around on it while on the floor. You may find it unorthodox at first but when you realize that it’s both fun and therapeutic, you will be hooked.
Using a foam roller works out the muscle knots and kinks that may still be present after your cooling down and stretching exercises. You may even find that your fatigued muscles enjoy a reprieve from their soreness after a few minutes of rolling around.
You can also use a foam roller as part of your pre-workout routine. Think of it as your fun way to start on hard work.
#4 Drink Water
With the body fluids, particularly sweat, lost during strenuous physical activity, drinking water after your workout is a no-brainer. Your muscles, tissues and joints will need the additional water to replace the loss, as well as to serve as fuel for the normal functions that follow.
You should drink 2-3 tall glasses of water within two hours of your workout. Of course, you have to regularly drink water during your workout especially when you’re exercising on a summer’s day. You must also drink water regularly afterwards even when you don’t feel thirsty anymore lest you become dehydrated.
#5 Feed Your Body
You should eat foods packed with protein and carbohydrates within 90 minutes after your workout. Your best bet is a tuna sandwich with vegetables on two slices of whole wheat bread, although 20 grams of protein shake is also recommended.
The food you eat will be crucial in replacing the calories and carbohydrates you have lost, as well as in the repair of your torn muscles. You will also need the boost of energy, especially when you still have other everyday activities on your schedule.
#6 Attend to Your Personal Hygiene
This is another no-brainer. You feel and look sweaty, so you probably smell bad. You also don’t want bacteria and fungi to get too attached to your skin via your dirty workout clothes. You must then take a shower after you have stopped sweating, period.
#7 Take Note of Your Progress
You don’t have to use pen and paper. You have plenty of fitness apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone for this purpose. Your goal here is to keep track of where you are now in relation to where you want to go, fitness-wise, while you can still remember the details.
#8 Resolve to Come Back
Even when you feel like little to no progress has been made in your fitness program, you must resolve to come back for your next class. Nobody said exercise is easy because, indeed, it’s hard work!