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How to Speed Up Your Recovery After a Tough Workout

Bounce back faster after grueling workouts with these tips.

A man recovering from a workout, push-up

Sometimes, the day after a challenging workout can be a struggle. Your muscles are sore and that makes it hard to get in and out of your car (if you can get to your car in the first place). But there are ways to ease the pain from a good workout. Here’s how to speed up your recovery:

Drink a lot of water

Hydrating after a workout is key to recovery. Without enough water in your body, you won’t be able to bounce back and take advantage of all of the hard work you’ve just done. Water provides many benefits for your body, including carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells and regulating body temperature. Without proper hydration, it’s difficult for your body to normalize blood pressure and stabilize your heartbeat. You’ll reap the rewards of your tough workout when you drink water.

Get enough sleep

Getting proper rest is easily one of the most effective ways to recover from any form or degree of physical exertion. Sleep allows your body to repair its muscle tissue. Hormones, such as human growth hormone and testosterone, increase during sleep, which helps you perform even better the next day. By sleeping eight hours each night, you’ll not only recover quickly but also reduce your chances of injury.

To improve your sleep quality, give yourself time to relax each evening as you get in bed. Sticking to a regular schedule will help you avoid being overly tired before getting in bed. You can also fall asleep quickly by stopping the use of electronics at least a half hour before your bedtime. Following these sleep tips takes discipline, but you’ll be well-rested when you wake up.

Related: Men's Health: The Basic Guidelines

Eat nutritious food

Consuming the best foods possible will give your body the proper fuel it needs to perform and recover. What you put in your body matters because your recovery depends on the vitamins and nutrients you digest. Physical activity puts stress on your body, so you need to support the recovery process by eating well.  

Foods that can be beneficial in your recovery process include whey protein powder, black beans, whole milk, Greek yogurt, whole-wheat pasta, and chicken. Give your body foods that will provide energy and nutrients that facilitate muscle building.

Related: Why I Love Strength Training

Massage

An effective way to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness is massage. This increases blood flow which speeds up the recovery process. The increase in circulation also helps to reduce the feeling of fatigue that follows a tough workout. Intense muscle soreness can be reduced (no matter what type of workout you’ve done) with the help of massage. This is true for a wide range of physical activity from running to bodybuilding. Apply what you’ve learnedBy putting these tips to work for you, you can provide your body with the tools it needs to recover. The sooner you recover, the sooner you can continue to achieve your fitness goals.

While you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.

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