You just poured it all out into a brutal workout. So what comes next? Do you hop in your car and go home or hit the showers then go about your day? If that sounds like you then you are missing a huge part of the equation. In order for you to get the most out of your work out the post work out recovery process is vital.
Cool Down – just like you warm up before your workout you need to cool down to allow your muscles time to slow down before they come to a screeching halt. Start with a slow jog and stretch. Your cool down doesn't need to be a long drawn out process, if you only have 5 minutes do a few quick stretches and keep your muscles moving before you sit for a long period of time.
Fuel Up – Any grueling work out depletes your body of nutrients and electrolytes. Try a protein shake to help build muscle or a sports drink and any type of carb such as wheat bread or a fitness bar.
Hot/ Cold Showers – There is research that shows alternating hot/cold showers post-exercise lowers your heart rate, lowers lactate levels in your blood, reduces soreness and increases blood flow. Try alternating every 30 seconds between cold and hot for 3 – 5 minutes.
Ice – To reduce swelling and inflammation icing should be a part of your post workout routine. Apply an ice bag or cold compress to any areas prone to inflation such as knees, ankles and shoulders. Keep it on for 20 – 30 minutes for best results.
Sports Massage – Massage will help eliminate the buildup of toxins in your body, prevent your muscles from knotting up, and relieve work out pain. Unless you are a professional athlete or have money to spend on a personal masseuse this won’t be a daily ritual however it is advised to get monthly massages if you are highly active.