No pain, no gain, right? Well, not quite.
Ever leave the gym after a great workout, only to wake up the next morning with aches and pains but not knowing why? “Cooling down” after a workout is more than just relaxing — there’s a lot you can do to feel better after you workout.
From the right moves to the right foods, if you're feeling pain after a workout, you CAN change that. And you should — those pains may have you feeling like you've put in some work, but they can be an indicator of an injury in the making.
The first thing to do is something you've probably heard all your life. Before you leave the gym, stretch. It sounds silly, but that simple stretch really does help to relax your muscles and speed circulation up, helping your body to heal - and preventing soreness, injuries, and aches and pains. That stiffness you can feel when you don't stretch may be your muscles stuck in a contracted state. Stretching helps to lengthen muscles after the natural compressions of a workout.
You know by now to stay hydrated after you hit the gym, right? As soon as your workout is done, it's time to replenish on fluids. If it’s an extra strenuous workout, switch your water for coconut water or even a glass of chocolate milk. (Studies are showing chocolate milk is a great choice to recover faster!)
What else should you be eating or drinking? Protein and carbs should both be in your next meal to help repair your muscles, but you can also try a banana for potassium to tide you over. You may laugh at protein shakes - but they’re also great to feed your muscles and recover faster.
Don't stop with just food and drinks! There's more you can do to keep the aches and pains away. Baths aren't just for lounging in - a bath with Epsom salts will replenish your minerals, and loosen up any tight muscles.
If you’re still sore after a workout, don’t overdo it! Switch to a low intensity for a couple of days - try yoga, pilates, or barre. It may sound counter-intuitive, but remember you can’t stick to your workout goal if you’re injured.
Ready to make workouts fun? Visit Jersey Strong, the Gym of New Jersey!