Gentle stretching before AND after a workout is a key component not to be dismissed. Trust me, I've been there and sometimes you just don't want to 'waste your time' stretching. I want to emphasize the gentle part for a minute as well. Especially before a workout, your muscles are not warmed up. This will cause them to be more tight and stiff - like a dry rubber band. Over stretching or stretching to forcefully will actually weaken the muscle, making injury more likely. Once your workout is complete - consider stretching in a sauna (still gently) and really make use of the extra heat. More about saunas below...
Water is so easily lost during exercise and you've to to replace it during and after the workout to not only hydrate those cells, but also to speed up recovery time! Water aids your metabolic function and supports the transfer of nutrients in the body. So staying properly hydrated will improve each and every body function. This is even more vital for endurance athletes who sweat more during periods of strenuous and peak activity.
Music is a great tool that can help us through a tough workout, at least by distracting us from the burning feeling in your legs. But on a more serious note, listening relaxing tunes can surprisingly aid in your workout recovery. So my recommendation is to listen to the faster heavier beats during the workout and switch it up to the slower tempo songs while you stretch and cool down, as the slower music can reduce blood pressure and pulse rate, which is especially useful after an intense workout!
Are you feeding your body with the right fuel? Machines require fuel and so do our bodies. You've got to make sure you eat within 60 minutes of a hard workout. Your energy stores have just been depleted pretty badly, so you've to restore them if you want your body to recover, repair, gain strength and be prepared for the next challenge! So great go-to and simple snack ideas that will speed your recovery along are protein shakes, bananas, nut butters, hummus and red peppers, yogurt with berries, fish and all green plants. Let's not forget the obvious- green plants are the foods to eat pre and post anything, really!
HOT & COLD THERAPY
Take alternating hot and cold to an even better level. The traditional advice of alternating applied ice and heat have great purpose but are better for targeting specific areas. Instead, try taking a really hot shower and then switching to the coldest setting for about 30 seconds (or whatever you can handle) and then switching back to hot again. You could even include the sauna with this one. Sit/stretch in the sauna for 5-10 minutes, go out and take a cold shower (or ice bath if that's available) and then return to the sauna. Repeat this process 2-3 times for best results.
SWEAT IT OUT
Sauna is the word on the street these days for health and fitness advocates all over the world. For good reason too. The health benefits that saunas deliver cause me to wonder why homes all over the world don't invest in installing one in their own homes. If you're already going to be stretching in all that heat, enhance that experience further and add Eucalyptus Oil Spray to the heat and even steam. Simply spritz the spray into the steam or heat. The oil in the air will then be activated by the heat, enter your lungs and be carried off to nurture those needy parts and well-worked muscles!
Congratulations. You are working out more regularly and committing to bettering your health. You will soon be looking and feeling better and that's something to be proud of. Please take care of yourself with proper diet, rest and recovery as you life your life to it's absolute fullest!
From all of us at Eurospa, we toast to your health!