We all know that exercise is essential and that we need to do it regularly, ideally every day. Exercise boosts the metabolism, which means we can lose weight more efficiently, and it keeps the muscles and organs working as they should do. It can even do wonders for your brain, improving your memory and concentration.
Yet sometimes, a workout can prove to be painful. The pain usually comes the next day when the muscles that have been worked hard are stiff and sore. Unfortunately, this then means that more exercise is difficult (even moving properly is difficult), so despite all our good intentions, we miss out on the next round of exercise, and the cycle starts again. So how can we prevent pain after a workout and improve our overall Post Workout Recovery Time? Read on to find out.
Warm-Up and Cool Down
Making sure you do a good warm-up before you begin exercising and a cool down once you’re done will help you prevent injury and muscle strain, and it will reduce (perhaps even eliminate) the pain you feel after a workout to a large degree. Warm-ups and cool downs are essentially, stretches. Each should take no more than 10 minutes, and they will consist of straightforward movements such as moving your arms across the body or gently moving on the spot. In general, warm up movements are dynamic, like when you’re at the beginning of a yoga class, and you move through the Cat & Cow asanas to warm up your spine. At the end of your workout, you will perform more static stretches, like Pigeon pose or Seated Forward Fold. at the end of practice. You may even notice that typical yoga classes move in this fashion, with a gradual heat building time frame that crescendos into the work of the class or “pinnacle” pose (if there is one.) This is followed by a gradual cooldown period complimented with nice long hold stretches. If you’re not sure what to do, make sure you speak to an expert like any of the yoga teachers here at Thrive. You may not know this, but Jennifer Dixon is also a Certified Nutrition Consultant and Personal Trainer and she is always willing to help you program your routines! If you’d rather work with someone online, check out the trainers working at Fitness 19; they will be able to help you develop the ideal warm-up routine.
When you perform dynamic stretches for the muscles before you exercise, you give them some leeway in their movement, starting a process you will finish during your workout. You are also encouraging better blood flow, which will improve how easily the muscles move and reduce the chances of any damage occurring.
Use An Ice Pack
If you have some swelling associated with the pain, you should use an ice pack if it is within the first 72 hours. This will reduce the inflammation and alleviate the pain. If you don’t have an actual ice pack around, all you have to do is wrap a clean cloth or small towel around some ice and hold that against the painful area. Make sure you don’t hold ice against the skin as this could leave you with ice burn and give you more pain rather than less. Use the ice pack for 15 minutes every hour. The cold stimulates your circulation and makes your blood flow quicker, reducing your pain.
Only use an ice pack when you have swelling as well as pain. If there is no swelling, heat is a better option. It works in the same way.
Enjoy A Warm Bath
A warm bath is something you might look forward to after a workout, and since it can help with pain relief too, it’s certainly worth carving out some time for. When you’re enjoying a warm bath, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed, which will play a big part in reducing pain. The body reacts to the brain’s messages; if the brain is told you are in pain, you’ll feel more pain. If the brain is told you are relaxed and the pain is subsiding, that’s what will happen. A bath can help in this way.
Plus, as we’ve mentioned above, good circulation is great for pain relief, and when you’re relaxing in warm water, your circulation will improve.
Supplements that Can Help You Recover
Now, you may have tried the ice and the warm baths and you still struggle with post workout muscle pain. Something you may want to consider is including a couple of supplements to your diet. We interviewed Jennifer Dixon about this topic and this is her “go to” supplement list.
- Protein – Protein is the building block for all muscles. Now, even if you’re not trying to be “the Arnold” you still need muscles to perform your daily activities, and muscle looks better than its alternative. So, make every effort to get your protein. Jennifer’s go to recommendation is 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. This can be a bit confusing, but if you think, .5-1 gr per lb you will be covered. What type of protein? That is 100% personal-whether you are vegetarian or not, etc. Whey protein is hands down the most easily converted in our bodies, but it can be difficult to digest in many adults. Jennifer’s favorite protein right now is MRE lite. It’s super tastey and has 23 gr of protein! When your body has enough protein it’ll have an easier time synthesizing the exercises you’re performing to build muscles, and aid in recovery.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is sometimes considered a miracle supplement because It does everything from soothing sore muscles in an Epsom Salt bath (did you know that was a magnesium bath?), it helps to reduce stress in your body, AND it can help you sleep? Magnesium is an all around wonderful and inexpensive addition to your daily supplement routine to help aid in your speedy recovery.
- Ashwagandha – this traditional Indian herb is known for its ability to help our bodies fight off or manage stress, but did you know it can also help you in your quest to recover better? Ashwagandha is another all over fabulous and inexpensive supplement that can help you feel better as you manage that stress better, and look better as it can help improve muscle growth..
There you have it! To help you feel better after performing your exercises, don’t forget these tips and tricks and maybe try a couple of these supplements. Let us know what you think!