So you’ve finished your workout? That’s awesome! But, wait — are you really finished? The truth is that in order to get the best results from your gym time, you have to have a post-workout routine as well, physically and mentally. As you already know, pre-workout stretches are essential in warming up your muscles and making sure you’re ready to tackle the workout ahead. Similarly, you need a post-workout checklist to ensure you get the results you want. Most of us, however, are in such a hurry always that as soon as out workout is over, we’re ready to get to the next thing we have to do on our busy calendar. So many of us in our mid- to late-20s and 30s are navigating a career, a social calendar, and a family — and finding the motivation to breathe and engage in a meaningful post-workout regimen can be tough. But, the truth is our winding down time is perhaps the most important part of our workout practice.
Ahead, here’s 5 fitness habits to maximize recovery, and ensure you truly get all the rewards of your sweat session.
1. STRETCH USING A FOAM ROLLER
A foam roller is a nifty tool to aid with flexibility. Using a foam roller effectively can improve blood circulation and alleviate any knots in soft tissue. In fact, it’s something you can do before and after working out.
The Shapes Bundle from Outdoor Voices is a family of fitness accessories inspired by sculpture. Made in collaboration with Visibility studio, the shapes — a Roller, a Block, and a Triangle — can be used together or individually across different fields of exercise and activity. With a playful nod to tactility and material interaction, the shapes elevate the traditional fitness kit and encourage users to find new ways to stretch, bend, and play.
2. CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES
After a workout session, it’s always best to change out of your sweaty clothes A.S.A.P — even if you don’t have the time to shower.
Neil Schultz, MD and dermatologist based in New York City, told Shape Magazine that sweaty workout clothes trap moisture that encourages the growth of germs, bacteria fungus and yeast, which could invite a skin infection or cause breakouts.
It’s always a good idea to take some food within 30 minutes of your workout session. Mitzi Dulan, author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Thin, claims that a 30-minute window is the peak time for muscles to replenish and rebuild so pack some snacks in your gym bag and refuel.
4. DRINK WATER
While working hard in the gym, your body responds by sweating to cool itself down. In this process, however, you’re losing a significant amount of liquids, which is why it’s important to replenish. Make sure to drink copious amounts of water after working out so as to avoid dehydration.
5. ENJOY SOME R&R
After an intense workout, it’s always best to take some time to unwind and rest. Whatever your preferred method, whether that’s sleeping, meditating or taking a relaxing bath, your body will love you for it.