Believe it or not, your workout isn't done when you're done exercising. The way that your body recovers post-exercise makes a huge difference in the results that you see. There are certain things that you MUST do after exercise to make sure you get the best results from your workout. We've put together an easy list for you.
Stay hydrated. If you've done an intense round of exercise that caused you to produce a lot of sweat, you need to replenish your fluids immediately. Hydration will help your muscles recover faster, as well as prevent a great deal of muscle soreness. Stick with water or a healthy drink, like coconut water, black/green tea, or a low-sugar sports drink.
Treat yourself to a healthy snack within 45 minutes of finishing your exercise. When you use your muscles, it takes energy. Refueling that energy with carbohydrates and protein will help kickstart your body's much-needed recovery process.
Cooldown. After an intense exercise, it's tempting to just lay on the floor and call it a day, but doing so might only make you dizzy and lightheaded. Performing a cooldown, even a relatively quick one, will allow your heart rate to drop in a slow, controlled manner.
Speaking of cool, take a cold shower. Coldwater eases muscle tension, promotes healing within the muscles, and prevents muscle soreness and inflammation. As a bonus, it may even help you sleep better!
Stretch. While your muscles are still warm, taking the time to stretch after a workout will help relieve tension, promote flexibility, and increase your range of motion. You'll find yourself to be more relaxed afterward, maybe even with better posture.
Change clothes. This one doesn't have as much to do with your workout as it does with maintaining good personal hygiene. Sitting in moist, sweaty clothes for too long can cause bacteria to grow in the crevices of your body. It's gross, we know, but that's why it's important to change clothes immediately following a workout. (Even better, take that cold shower we mentioned earlier. It is a game-changer!)
No matter what kind of exercise you like to do, you'll never see the results you want if you don't take care of yourself after your workout. We hope these tips help you get the most out of all your exercises from here on out!