There are over 600 muscles in the human body, and exercising them can bring benefits such as improving your posture and making you stronger.
However, after a workout, you need to look after your muscles to help them recover and grow. Otherwise, they may remain tired and sore and you could have to wait for longer until you’re ready to return to the gym.
To help you get back to your training regime as soon as possible, we’re going to take a look at 7 excellent muscle recovery practices.
Let’s dive in and find out more.
1. Perform a Cool Down Session
You wouldn’t try to lift heavy weights or begin sprinting without first warming up, and you shouldn’t finish your workout without a cool down. By performing exercises at less intensity, you can allow your body to clear lactic acid from your system which may help with muscle recovery.
However, it’s important to cool down correctly to avoid overtraining. This means you should lift significantly less weight, or jog at a slow speed. If you were to continue training at a high intensity, this can add extra strain and make it more likely that your muscles will need a longer recovery period.
When working out, you’re breaking your muscles down and your body rebuilds them during the recovery process. This is when your muscles grow and become stronger.
But this process is hindered if you are dehydrated, as water is essential for helping your body deliver nutrients to your muscles so they can repair and recover.
Drinking water before and during your training session can help your muscles perform at maximum capacity, and staying hydrated during the post-workout recovery period will aid with restoring their energy and strength.
To ensure you consume enough water, keep a bottle close by so you can take a drink at regular intervals throughout the day.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Your muscles can benefit from many different nutrients after a tough workout. For example, omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory which can ease muscle soreness and speed up the repair process. In addition, carbs provide energy for your body so it doesn’t need to use sources such as protein to function.
This is why many athletes will consume foods like salmon, potatoes, and pasta after a workout. By eating healthy meals that contain the right nutrients, you can support muscle recovery and reduce soreness and tiredness.
You can also add recovery supplements to your diet such as this deer antler spray. This can help repair connective tissue and decrease recovery time as well as provide performance-enhancing effects.
4. Have an Ice Bath
Sitting in an ice bath will constrict your blood vessels, slowing down your metabolism and reducing muscle swelling. When you step out of the ice bath, your blood vessels will open up, increasing circulation and delivering nutrients to your muscles.
If you don’t have access to a bath or an easy way to fill it with ice, you can use any source of cold water. This could be a nearby river or a cold shower that can produce the same effects.
Although it might not be your favorite part of your muscle recovery routine, getting into an ice bath can be hugely beneficial.
5. Take Rest Days
You’ll feel good when working out, and it can be tempting to train every day to try and get the same rush. But this is counterproductive and can lead to serious injury.
Your body requires rest to allow it to rebuild your muscles, and having downtime is a crucial part of the recovery process. This doesn’t just mean not going back to the gym or not running. You should also think about other tasks that take a toll on your body.
For example, if you have a manual labor job this could place extra stress on your muscles and make it more difficult for them to recover. Or, if you are helping a friend move house, you may be living heavy boxes.
If your muscles are having to work hard outside of your training sessions, you should allow extra rest time before you work out again.
6. Avoid Stress
Stress can have a massive effect on your body, and subsequently the recovery of your muscles. This is because your body may be focusing on its stress response rather than repairing your muscles following a workout.
You may also find that you don’t eat healthily when you’re stressed and that you don’t sleep as well. This can have a knock-on effect and slow down the recovery process.
7. Do Light Exercises
While rest is a vital factor, it can also help to carry out some light exercises as part of your muscle recovery regime. By increasing blood flow, you can deliver the building block nutrients that your muscles need to grow. Gentle exercise can also help stretch your muscles so they feel less tight.
Design Your Muscle Recovery Program
Your muscle recovery program can be just as important as your exercise plan. To help repair your muscles quickly, you should drink plenty of water and try to avoid stressful situations. It can also be useful to take a recovery supplement and to allow your body to rest between workouts.
These tips can help your muscles recover so you can be ready for your next training session.
Before you go for a muscle-building workout, be sure to read more of our great blog posts.