6 Tips For Workout Recovery

Jan 25, 2018, 10:32 AM by Molly Lord

It’s a new year, new you, right? Time to get off the couch and start working out. But it’s hard to change old habits and get to the gym on a regular basis.

Trust us, we know. 

Statistics show that 80 percent of the New Year's resolution crowd stops going to the gym in the middle of February. Considering that studies say it takes 6 weeks of practicing a certain behavior in order to form a habit, that’s a worrying number.

So what can you do to ensure you make it past the 6-week hump and onto a healthier lifestyle? A large part of why people give up on their fitness goals is because they don’t see the results they expected or it’s just tougher, mentally and physically, than they expected. 

Something that is often forgotten when it comes to working out is giving your body time to recover from a workout. Exercise and recovery go hand in hand and the combination will help you develop a sustainable fitness routine. 

Since laying on the ground crying probably isn’t the best way to recover from a workout, here are 6 things you can do to recover from a workout.

1. The Home Stretch

Just as important as cardio and strength training is stretching. Before you work out, make sure to do a few minutes of dynamic stretching, which helps to activate the muscles you’ll use doing the workout. Dynamic stretches include high knees, buttkickers, lunges and pushups. After you work out, spend some time doing static stretching. This is what typically comes to mind when thinking of stretching: holding a stretch for around 60 seconds. Static stretching helps to improve flexibility and alleviate muscle soreness.

2. Just Add Water (And Salt)

There are a variety of homeopathic options to help alleviate muscle pain and soreness. After a particularly grueling workout, go home and soak in a bath with epsom salts. Epsom salts are known to relieve muscle pain and inflammation as well as helping to regulate electrolytes, which help muscle functioning. Plus a bath is great way to relax and rewind; adding lavender essential oils will help to loosen and calm your muscles as well. Another great homeopathic remedy you can try is arnica, which comes in topical gels or pills.

3. You're On A Roll

One of the growing trends in workout recovery is foam rolling. While it may be painful at first, it is one of the best ways to massage soft tissue to help stimulate muscle recovery and breakdown scar tissue in the fascia. After workout, try out a foam rolling session and don’t be scared to ask a trainer for suggestions on how to best roll out muscles.

4. Restore Cowboy

A tried and true method for workout recovery is restorative yoga. With a focus on the breathe and releasing tension, restorative yoga provides an opportunity to slow down and experience long, deep stretches. Apart from the physical side of the practice, there are many mental benefits as well, including mood improvement, calming the mind and creating a better balance and connection between mind and body.

5. Drink to That

As much as living a healthy lifestyle is about the effort you put out, don’t forget to prioritize what you’re putting in your body. Make sure you’re drinking water before, during and after the workout. The more you exercise, the more water your body will need to replenish fluids and electrolytes. Something to avoid? Don’t drink more than one serving of alcohol after a workout, as alcohol is shown to reduce your body’s ability to recover.

6. Eat it Up

Pay attention to what you’re eating to make sure that you’re giving your body the proper fuel to make the most of your workouts. Try starting and ending your day with a protein- based snack to help your muscles rebuild and get ready for the next workout. Studies show that drinking chocolate milk post-workout is a great way to encourage muscle recovery. Another age old trick to help your body to recover is eating bananas. Bananas are loaded with potassium which helps reduce muscle cramping.

Make sure you incorporate recovery into your weekly workout schedule so that you don’t burn out and over fatigue your body. Try out these tips or talk to one of our personal trainers to find out how they incorporate recovery into their fitness regime. 

Molly Lord is the communications intern for the YMCA of Boulder Valley.