The Seven Healthiest Ways to Relax after You Exercise
A high intensity workout will make you feel awesome. However, right after you are done with it, you may feel muscle soreness or pain in your body. Working out has a number of effects on your body. Your blood circulation improves, your heart becomes stronger, your flexibility increases and your muscles become bigger and stronger. But all of this needs to be fueled by the right nutrition and recovery time. The process of recovery is an automatic process, but with the right catalysts you can speed it up. You must relax physically, as well as mentally, for your recovery process to be effective.
Let us discuss how we can relax after a vigorous workout.
1. Hot/Cold Shower & TherapyThere has been a lot of debate regarding which is better, a hot or a cold shower after workout. Cold therapy or heat therapy for your body, both have their benefits and their usage also depends on the weather. After you workout, the first thing you should do is to take a cold shower. This will reduce muscle soreness. It will also reduce the tension in your tendons and reduce the pressure on your joints. When you are done, change the temperature to hot and take a hot shower. This alternating therapy has been found to be more beneficial than hot or cold showers alone. The hot water will help your body in flushing out all the dead & inflammatory cells. It will also prevent build-up of scar tissue, but the best thing it will do is reduce and prevent stiffness.
2. Deep Breathing & Meditation
Breathing techniques, especially the ones which yoga has taught us can do magic. During and as well as after your workout, if you follow proper breathing techniques you will be reducing not only the risk of injury and inflammation, but will also end up relaxing yourself very quickly. This technique will refuel your muscles and it has also been found to increase your stamina. Instead of breathing in the way we normally do, yoga techniques require that you breathe in and out through the nose only. This results in taking much deeper breaths and increases the supply of oxygen to your entire body. Look for a quiet and relaxing ambience within your home or anywhere outdoors. Lie down on a yoga mat. Rest one of your hands on your chest, while the other one on your belly. Close your mouth and take a deep but slow breath using only your nose. Keep inhaling slowly till you feel the air in your tummy. Hold for a few seconds and then exhale slowly till your belly relaxes. Repeat till you feel relaxed. You can choose from a number of meditation techniques that are a part of yoga.
Everybody loves a good massage, but not everyone has the time or the resources to visit a massage parlor every other day or hire a masseuse. Especially when you go to the gym regularly you won’t really get the time for this luxurious relaxation. However, a variety of massage tools are now available and the best thing about them is that you do not really need anyone to do it for you, except of course when you need a back massage. Massage guns that work on the principle of percussion therapy can really come in handy. They provide your body with deep tissue massage and help prevent/cure myofascia, in simple words they loosen up stiff muscles, reduce tension and muscle soreness. Foam rollers, affordable and simple to use, can relax your tense muscles after a rigorous workout, they also work on the principle of deep tissue massage and loosen up your tight muscles, some even have a vibrating feature providing you with better massage.
4. Use A weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets work on the principle of deep touch pressure therapy. Regularly using it during sleeping or resting can help you relax. When you are done with your workout, you can wrap one around yourself, enjoy a nutritious drink and reap the benefits of this innovation. They are available according to your body weight. Their regular usage stimulates your muscles, improving circulation of blood in your body and providing continuous therapy which results in soothing your body.
When you work out, your connecting muscles undergo strain during exercise and when overworked or injured they will be “squeezed” or “shortened.” This is called myofascia and it requires myofascial release, i.e. these connecting muscles need to relax and lose their stiffness. Stretching after a tough workout will first of all reduce the probability of myofascia and if you are suffering from it, stretching will help you counter it. A 15-20 minutes stretching session after your workout will increase your flexibility & agility. It will make your muscles more pliable and therefore less susceptible to myofascia. Stretching will help reduce muscle stiffness and relax your entire body. It is especially beneficial in relieving lower back tension and pain.
6. A Hearty Meal or Drink
A wholesome meal full of nutrients or a healthy drink can make you feel relaxed. Usually your meal after workout should be a combination of proteins and carbohydrates. A protein shake would also do the job. You need proteins to heal your muscles which just went through a lot of stress and you need carbs to refuel your body’s energy reserves. Avoid sugary, boozy and fizzy drinks, they will have a negative effect on the oxygen supply of your body.
Sleeping after a hard workout can be one of the best ways of relaxing yourself. Your body self-heals the most when you are sleeping. During sleep, your body releases growth hormones which help fuel muscle growth and thus enhance your performance. Taking a nap after a tough workout can also help in reducing fatigue and reduce muscle soreness.