How To Speed Up Muscle Recovery
If you’ve trained a little too hard before, you might have experienced DOMS – delayed-onset muscle soreness, which can only be described as an agonizing pain that can be felt hours or even days after a tough workout.
While a workout hangover can definitely cramp your style, you don’t have to suffer if you’ve pushed yourself during a workout, instead, try some of our tips and tricks listed below to help speed up muscle recovery!
Although it sounds obvious, keeping yourself hydrated before, during, and after a workout is incredibly important for post-workout recovery. When you’ve completed a HIIT workout or if it’s a hot day, you should also consider rebalancing your electrolytes too.
Electrolytes include minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals are important for your nervous system and they also get used up during muscle contraction. Having a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables will ensure you get the electrolytes you need for your workouts. It is also a great option to have a fruit or vegetable smoothie after working out to aid recovery and replace the electrolytes in your blood.
There are some people out there who skip warming up before working out, and although you might think it saves time by getting straight into the workout, you are actually doing more harm than good by skipping this crucial step.
By taking as little as five minutes to complete a warm-up you will be minimising delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) while also decreasing any risk of injury. A good warm-up is incredibly important before workouts including deadlifts, single-arm rows, or pull-ups – these movements involve slow eccentric movements, meaning the muscle lengthens but contracts simultaneously.
By taking 5 minutes to do a light jog or walk on the treadmill after a workout can really help your body to cool down, especially if you’ve just completed a tough workout or a HIIT workout.
Once you’ve cooled down and your heart rate has slowed, you should try some static stretching where you hold a stretch position for a few seconds. This will help to improve your range of motion and can help to improve any aches the next day.
Elevating Your Legs
As we spend most of our time with our legs beneath us – sitting, standing, walking, running – it can be incredibly beneficial to hold your legs up a wall for 5-10 minutes as it will reduce swelling in the muscles and improve circulation.
Taking a Cold Bath
I can’t think of anything I would rather do less than taking a cold bath, but if it helps avoid the deep pain the day after a tough workout – sign me up for daily ice baths.
When you work out a little too hard, you can cause micro damage to your muscles which can result in pain, swelling, and soreness. It’s important to know that this process is normal, as your muscles are adapting and becoming stronger. To combat this pain, a cool or cold bath can help reduce inflammation.
If you are experiencing pain more than 5 days after a workout, or if you are in a great deal of pain, it might be a good idea to seek help from a doctor or medical professional.
Don’t Stop Moving
Light movement on your rest days will help to keep your blood circulating throughout your body while bringing the nutrients needed to repair muscles and assisting with the removal of metabolic waste products. Rest days are important as your microtears in the muscles need time to repair, so small movements, like taking the stairs instead of the lift would suffice!