Every day Americans log thousands of miles when they're working out. They run, spin, dance, play sports, lift weights, or engage in some other kind of sweat-inducing endeavor to burn calories, get healthier, or build muscle.
However, many of them are not fully capitalizing on these workouts.
Experts agree that progress toward healthy goals really happens after the workout is finished when muscles are rebuilding and recovering. You will not see the results you want if the right post-workout choices are not made.
To make a fitness regime even more worthwhile and to reduce injury risk, these five post-workout activities should be included:
1. Cool down
To cut the risk of injury, it is important to slowly cool down, letting your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal resting levels. Finishing up a workout with a few minutes of steady walking can be just the thing to get your vitals back to normal.
It takes some time to stretch after a workout, but it can help to limit the soreness the next day. Being less sore is preferred for obvious reasons, but it also makes it more likely that you'll get back to the gym sooner to continue on towards your goals.
Having a small snack after working out can help muscles repair themselves afterward. Experts suggest that a combination of carbohydrates and protein would be a good snack. Yogurt with fresh berries, hummus and pita bread, or tuna on a slice of whole wheat bread are delicious possibilities.
Reducing your sleep will reduce the effectiveness of your workout. Sleep is necessary for your body to recover after a tough workout. It helps your body to build strong muscles and heal faster and better.
5. Do not drink alcohol
Celebrating a great workout with a night out at the bar is a terrible post-workout activity. Drinking alcohol right after a workout is not the snack experts suggest. It can dehydrate your body, slow muscle recovery, and increase your risk of blood clots.
It is best to stick to drinking water for at least half an hour after a workout.