Play Hard, Recover Harder: 5 Ways to Optimize Your Recovery Time

When it comes to doing good for your body, mind and soul, physical exercise is at the top of the list. Getting your blood flowing and your heart pumping on the daily, even for just 10 minutes, results in healthier hair and skin, a stronger immune system, improved mental sharpness and increased energy; need we say more? With everything, though, consistency is key, so knowing how to care for your body post workouts is essential. Whether you lift weights or children, run marathons or speed walk through the office, here are five easy things you can do to for a faster, more enjoyable muscle recovery.

  1. Rehydrate: One of the most important things you can do for your body immediately following a workout is replacing the liquids that were lost. In other words, drink lots of water. Find out how much water you should be drinking before, during and after a workout here.
  2. Refuel: On top of rehydration, having a recovery meal (or drink) with protein and carbohydrates between 30 minutes to an hour after your workout will help build and repair broken down muscles and support a healthy metabolism. Shape Magazine shares some simple and delicious options here.
  3. Stretch: Loosen up tired, tense muscles with a cool-down stretch that increases blood flow to the muscles and release some of that stress that’s been placed on your body, joints and muscles. It’ll be a love-hate relationship, but we suggest implementing some foam rolling into your regimen to further massage your muscles and release built up tension.
  4. Compress: Whether you’re headed to the office, out to run errands or back home to relax after your workout, you can continue your recovery efforts simply by slipping on a pair of compression socks! These socks work to increase the circulation of freshly oxygenated blood back into your legs, which reduces muscle soreness and expedites overall recovery so you can be back at it tomorrow.
  5. Sleep: Last but definitely not least, getting quality sleep is crucial to your recovery process. It’s during these sweet hours of slumber that your muscles do a majority of their healing – skipping out on rest time actually decreases your body’s ability to properly recover. 6-8 hours, doctor’s orders! 
The care you put into your body’s recovery is just as important as the workout itself. If you’re going to play hard, you have to recover even harder! If you have any recovery tips or tricks, share with us in a comment below!

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