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Exactly How To Restore Your Mind And Body After A Workout

You’ve just worked out, showered, and headed to work or home. But while you may soon forget your efforts, your body is only just getting started.

“The interesting fact about working out is that results are forged during exercise, but actually take place in between the workouts,” says Chris Reid, Head of Fitness and Member Experience at Orangetheory Fitness. “Because of this, the process of exercise recovery and restoring your body is a fundamental part of any fitness routine.”

To put it simply, your muscle tissue is broken down during your workout and then rebuilt after it. How much rest and recovery you do after a workout will dictate how effectively your body rebuilds that tissue.

Ahead, Reid shares his tips for what to do post workout to ensure you’re maximising your exercise results.

Stretching is essentially straight after a workout

post workout

Image: Li Sun / Pexels

Always ensure your workout ends with a cooldown by gradually decreasing the intensity, followed by additional stretching that is specific to any muscles that have been targeted throughout the workout,” Reid says.

“The process of stretching post workout has a myriad of benefits, such as increasing flexibility, mobility and speeding up your recovery time between exercise. Post this, you should then ensure you stay well hydrated to replace any water lost from sweat.”

Eat an hour after exercise

post workout

Image: Sara Dubler / Unsplash

“Post-workout nutrition choices and timing is a contentious topic that comes with many different viewpoints and ideals, but I believe the best approach should be specific to the individual,” says Reid.

“I generally recommend eating a light meal within an hour of exercise. Focus on natural foods that are easy to digest such as fruits and vegetables, and also focus on repairing muscle and replacing energy lost during exercise. This can be done by consuming protein and carbohydrates if the exercise intensity was high.

“As an added bonus, this can also assist in your recovery time between workouts.

Calm your mind by focusing on your breath

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Image: Pixabay

One of the best things about exercise is its ability to calm someone’s mind, reduce their stress and improve the quality of their lives,” says Reid. “If your mind is still racing from the intensity of a class or workout, try to ensure you spend additional time to cool down and stretch appropriately.

“Focusing on your breath during stretches or low-intensity work during this time can have a therapeutic effect on the body and mind, while also assisting with getting more out of your stretching routine.”

Consider that what doesn’t challenge you, won’t change you

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Image: Victor Freitas / Unsplash

As for when to work out again, Reid says, “a general rule I like to live by is to never skip a workout [I’ve committed to] or miss a Monday.

“Exercise frequency should always speak to an individual’s goals and their lifestyle, but I also believe that what doesn’t challenge you, won’t change you. Generally, it’s important to push your body to the point that it’s adapting to the exercise frequency and intensity you are placing it under, but also to not overdo things and take steps backwards.

“Start with a realistic training frequency that builds a strong foundation of strength and general fitness, and then build on this to ensure you’re always pushing yourself to be slightly better than you were yesterday.”

(Lead image: Micah Boerma / Pexels)

Published 29 May, 2019