Recovery is an essential part of any exercise routine. It has a big impact on your fitness gains and it’s essential to muscle and tissue repair. Here we take a look at how best to rest up post-workout, and get the most out of your muscles.
Replace lost fluids
You lose a lot of water and important electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, when you exercise, especially when you work up a sweat. Sweat keeps us cool but your body temperature will rise if you don’t replenish lost fluids. You also need to stay hydrated so as to flush out waste and toxins. Ideally, you should replace lost fluids during exercise, especially endurance exercise, and always top up once you’ve finished.
Work out then cool down
Cooling down at a much reduced intensity for around 10 minutes after exercise, helps your heart rate and blood flow to return to normal. This could involve easy, gentle movement such as a run into a jog, or hopping from strength training into a yoga class. Stretching is also really important and can help to improve mobility and flexibility. It also makes us feel better, providing a sense of relief and release, and brings blood flow into your muscles, making you feel relaxed.
Eat to build muscle
What you eat post-workout can influence your recovery. Your body’s preferred fuel source is glycogen. When you exercise, your muscles use up their glycogen stores. Proteins in your muscles can also be broken down and damaged. Once you’ve finished exercising your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair (and regrow) damaged muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body do this faster. Carbs and protein are especially good at getting this done.
Rest and relax
A muscle needs anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild , and working it again too soon simply leads to tissue breakdown instead of building. Rest is one of the best ways to recover and heal from just about any illness or injury and this is also true of exercise. Resting after intense exercise allows the repair and recovery process to happen at a natural pace. Sufficient sleep is essential; our body does much of its repair work when we sleep.
3 of our favourite exercise recovery products:
1. A.Vogel Balance Mineral Drink , £7.25 for 7 sachets
A delicious-tasting, strawberry-flavoured post-workout drink, A.Vogel’s Balance Mineral Drink provides magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin D, to help reduce fatigue, improve energy, replace lost electrolytes and support muscle function. Available in 7 or 21 handy single-serve portions, simply dissolve into 150ml of water or milk, stir well and enjoy.
2. A.Vogel Atrogel Arnica Gel , £11.11 for 100ml
Sore and tired muscles? Try A.Vogel’s Atrogel Arnica Gel. Arnica is fantastic at relieving pain and stiffness in joints and muscles, as well as reducing swelling. And unlike conventional painkillers that can cause unwanted side-effects, this 100% natural alternative to NSAIDs it is safe for long-term use. Massage into the affected muscles and let Arnica work its magic!
3. BetterYou Magnesium Muscle Body Spray , £9.71 for 100ml
Soothe hard-working muscles with a natural blend of magnesium, energising lemon oil, arnica and capsicum for a gentle heat to speed up recovery time. Magnesium is vital for optimal muscle contraction, skeletal strength, energy production and assists in sustaining the high oxygen consumption necessary for athletic performance.
Try BetterYou Magnesium Muscle Body Spray. 10 sprays deliver 150mg magnesium for to help aid muscle recovery post-training.