Recovery is an investment... look after your body and it will look after you! When you’re someone that works and trains hard, you will need to equally recover well to keep going at that same intensity; otherwise over time it will catch up with you.
Your recovery routine has an impact on your performance, gains and general wellbeing, so I’ve put together my top 10 tips for optimal recovery.
10 Tips for Recovery After Exercise
One of the quickest ways to recover is to sleep more and sleep well. Finding a regular routine before bed will only add to the experience.
Switching of screens, keeping the phone on aeroplane mode, avoiding heavy meals, dimming the lights, reading a book and inhaling lavender are just a few ideas. Find what works for you.
We spend a huge part of our life in bed and as an amazing high tech human machine we need it to work at our best. Quality sleep will maximise energy levels, mood and decision-making skills; it will also reduce the risk of injury & help boost the immune system.
H20 on the rocks please! Water supports every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body. Filling up on enough before, during and after exercise is essential and will ensure you replace water loss through sweating so you feel replenished.
Finding the right foods to eat post workout will help you to repair muscle tissue and glycogen stores, so you can get back to your next workout faster. Try something with protein and carbs; I find if you’re in a rush something like protein powder with oats thrown into a shaker can be super efficient.
Whether you’re exercising vigorously or just moving more during the day; the physical benefits of stretching include improving your flexibility, posture, preventing injury and reduced soreness.
The mental benefits are pretty awesome too as you’ll feel calmer, tension will melt away and energy levels will soar. Try a yoga class or personalise a flow for yourself based on areas of tightness. Try and hold stretches for longer than 30 seconds to feel the full benefits.
Use a foam roller
Foam rolling is essentially a form of self-massage that allows you to apply deep pressure to certain points of the body to release (and prevent) tightness and muscular tension. Think of it like a giant rolling pin to iron out the kinks in the body. Try incorporating it before your workouts. When you find an area of tension, work around it using short, slow rolls for about 30 seconds; maybe a little longer depending on the area.
Ask a professional
Perhaps it’s got to that point where stretching and rolling isn’t enough and isn’t helping (been there...felt that.) Whether you decide to see a physio, osteo or just have a sports massage. Any sort of massage or assisted movement after vigorous exercise feels amazing, seems to reduce pain and helps muscles recover. It’s a great way to ease inflammation, improve blood flow and reduce muscle tightness.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in sports nutrition; we lose it doing strenuous exercise and through sweat. Benefits include speeding up the recovery process, improving muscle function, maintaining electrolyte balance and reducing fatigue. There are so many ways to replenish the body; one of the most efficient being via the skin. Bath salts, oils and moisturisers help the body to absorb it, and as a bonus, feels indulgent and well deserved after a tough workout.
Working out at a lower intensity or being a bit more active during the day is a good way to give your body a break without being totally sedentary. It’s been shown to increase blood flow to your muscles and tissues which will help the body to repair itself. If you’re someone who thrives on that exercise high, it will also offer a refreshing mental break.
This is probably one of the hardest things to do in a world where everything is so fast-paced and is constantly telling us to do more and be more. Take some time to sit, lie down or go for a stroll and just ‘be’ in the moment. Embrace your surroundings, breathe in some fresh air and feel in tune with your body. It’s also great for helping you to find space in your busy day for renewed focus and motivation.
Listen to your body
Your body is smart, and it has ways of letting you know when it’s had enough. Take a moment and ask yourself what your body needs right now. Be honest with yourself; if you’re still feeling sore from your last workout perhaps it’s time to take it a little easier.