Fitness

Top 5 Post Workout Tips

February 25, 2017

Working out is part of our everyday schedule, however, do you take your post workout routine as seriously. For many of us, it’s only after we have an injury that we start to evaluate how to improve this part of our workout ritual. So here are a few simple tips to help keep your body performing at its optimum.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical physician, all the information given here has been from my own personal experience as well as reading various medical texts. No affiliate links are included in this post.

1. Stretch

This is perhaps one of the most obvious but also the most ignored post-workout practice. We finish our workout/class and have to rush back to work or get home for dinner and so we have all been guilty of neglecting to do this crucial part of our workouts. Even after studies have shown that stretching can reduce the occurrence of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as well as increase flexibility.

Why is it important?

Regardless of what exercise you are doing, you will be working your muscles leading, to a build up of lactic acid. This build up happens naturally as the body works to break down glucose to maintain performance.

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) stretching after workouts helps to release this lactate build up, lessening the probability of painful muscle cramps, whilst also loosening and lengthening the muscles to maintain flexibility.

This is particularly important after strength training workouts where you have fatigued the muscles, giving the ‘pumped-up’ look. By stretching out the muscle afterwards, you are signalling to the body that it can relax ensuring that you release acid and maintain a full range of movement.

2. Foam Roller

pulse roll the bottom stepThe foam roller has been gaining in popularity over the past few years, but for all the yogi’s and dancers amongst us, this has been a key part of our equipment for a long time.

A foam roller is a tube of relatively dense foam that allows you to roll various parts of your body over it. The effect is your own deep tissue massage.

I personally have a love/hate relationship with mine as it’s simultaneously one of the most painful and most satisfying ways to treat muscles.

Why is it important?

It can help to increase blood flow and so is also a great pre-workout practice, as a way of warming up the body before you begin to exercise. It is one of the most effective mechanisms for self-myofascial release (SMR) usually achieved by having another person massage the deep tissue. It can also help to break up old scar tissue and improve flexibility and mobility but be warned it can sometimes be a little uncomfortable.

If you are looking for a good foam roller, then I have to recommend Pulse Roll, this is a roller with built-in massage, with varying speeds. It’s great for getting the circulation going for pre and post workout.

3. Epsom Salt Bath

the bottom stepEpsom salts have been a long-standing folklore as a way to soothe aching muscles and assist with relaxation after a long hard day.

What are Epsom Salts?

Epsom salt is the mineral magnesium sulphate heptahydrate, which was originally extracted from the waters in Epsom, Surrey (England). Its key ingredient, Magnesium plays an important part in helping with muscle regeneration after exercise.

Why is it important?

Stress and intense exercise both deplete the body of magnesium and this can lead to soreness, muscle cramps, aches as well as affecting overall moods. This is even more important in females as studies have shown that depleted levels of serotonin and magnesium can increase the symptoms of PMS. So ladies Epsom salt baths starting up to 2 weeks before your period can help to reduce pain and mood swings.

Epsom salts can be taken orally, however, they also have an unavoidable laxative effect and so the benefits are seen best by taking a long hot soak in the bath, (as if you need an excuse).

4. Massage

A massage is often seen as a luxury, however, a 15-minute massage should be seen as a necessity after any kind of intense workout. We all know that a massage feels good, but are you aware of the benefits and what it’s doing for your body?

Why is it important?

Massage releases genes that help to naturally reduce inflammation as well as increase the production of mitochondria which uses oxygen and broken down food to increase energy levels.

The different massage strokes also have different effects on the muscles, with long movements moving fluid through the circulatory system by increasing the pressure in front of the stroke and creating a suction behind it. This increases the oxygen levels and helps to remove toxins from the tissue. Whilst deep tissue massages help to regulate the pores and improve the tissues ability to absorb substances i.e. oxygen and nutrients.

5. Rest Day

the bottom stepFor many people, the idea of taking a day off seems like the opposite thing to do when trying to reach a fitness goal, however, it has many benefits and is a post workout necessity for keeping your body fit and healthy.

Why is it important?

During workouts we put added strain on all areas of the body, causing tiny tears in the muscle, pressure on joints and strain on ligaments. When this occurs, our immune system is activated in order to repair the body, however, if you don’t rest it is unable to catch up.

Over-exercise can also affect your sleep as your body is in a constant state of high alert because your resting heart rate is increased. By taking a day off you can decrease alertness allowing for proper REM sleep.

Taking a day off can also help to re-motivate you for the week of exercise ahead.

 

These are just a few top tips to help the body recover after each workout. Whilst you may not always have time to include all of these in your week, it is important to try and include at least one of them in your everyday workout routine. This will aid your body in recovery and help to improve performance for your next workout.

Links used:

Stretching: Healthy Living 

Foam Roller: Muscle and Fitness, Master of Muscle 

Epsom Salts: Pura Vida Natural Medicine

Rest Day: FitBit, Well Bridge 

Read More like this ….

5 Super Simple Ways To Get Fit This Summer

You Might Also Like

7 Comments

  • Reply MOVE Fit London - The Bottom Step March 21, 2017 at 6:38 am

    […] a mini foam roller and foam ball from BlackRoll and if you have read my previous article on Top 5 Post Workout Tips, you will know their importance. They had a full range of products available from back massagers to […]

  • Reply Alyssa March 4, 2017 at 3:30 am

    Awesome tips it’s so important to do maintenance after a work out! Foam rolling is so great!

  • Reply Jessica Bradshaw (@loveyoumoretoo) March 3, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you for the great reminders. I am in desperate need of a rest day, and always make an excuse not to have one. I also need to try Epsom Salt baths.

    P.S. We have the same blog theme. 😉

    • Reply Tash T March 4, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Epsom Salts are a totally life saver, it seems odd that they can have such a massive effect, but they really do. Im heading over yo check out your blog today 🙂

  • Reply Ayanna March 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Great tips! My trainer talks to me about getting a foam roller all the time. I’m way overdue for a massage as well.

    • Reply Tash T March 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Getting a massage is the one everyone leaves until its desperate.lol.

  • Reply D T February 26, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Great advice!
    Great post!

  • Leave a Reply