I hope you’re all doing well with your New Year's resolutions.
Like most people, my goal this year is to work out and be more attentive to my health. I’ve taken up Muay Thai 3 to 4 times a week which helps me stay motivated to hit the gym. However, this year I really want to focus on my post-workout ritual as this is just as important as the workout itself.
For this blog post, I want to give you quick tips on how you can look after your body after a workout.
1. Compression Socks - I hurt my ankle last July while training and my ankle swelled up like a balloon. I would include a photo but would rather you trust my word on this one. What helped a lot with my recovery were my Dr. Segal's Compression Socks. As soon as I put them on, I noticed a reduction in swelling and my ankle actually started to feel better. With that being said, you don't have to wait for an injury to start using your compression socks. Think of compression socks as a preventative measure.
During exercise, whether from running or weight lifting, the muscles in your legs are subject to microscopic muscle tears which can result in swelling and pain. Wearing compression socks can help support the tissues to reduce swelling and speed up the recovery of your tired, sore muscles.
Another benefit is increased circulation. This helps to speed up the removal of lactic acid from within the muscle, reducing the pain that we often feel the next day from delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Not only will your legs feel better faster, but your next workout will also be more enjoyable.
Here are my favorite compression socks of all time!
Dr. Segal's, 15-20mmHg compression socks, Multi-Stripes, Cotton
Dr. Segal's, 15-20mmHg compression socks, Solid Beige, Cotton
2. Staying hydrated - If you're anything like me, you probably also sweat up a storm during a training session. Drinking water during and after exercise helps to replace the fluids lost during physical activity. Staying well hydrated will also prevent muscle cramping.
Drinking sufficient amount of water is also important throughout the day. How can you make sure you're drinking enough water? Personally, I like using a 2L water bottle because it’s a good reference of how much water I’ve had and requires fewer refills.
Note: The following rule-of-thumb, 1 ounce of water per kilogram of weight, is roughly the amount of water you should be consuming daily. Keep in mind that recommended water intake also varies depending on the individual’s environment, health status and activity level. depending on the individual’s environment, health status and activity level.
Here is the link to my 2L water bottle I got from Walmart. For $3.31, you can't beat that!
3. Cool down and stretch – I’m particularly bad with stretching post workout but I’m consciously making an effort to incorporate it after each training session. Speaking from experience, when you leave the gym without stretching or properly cooling down, you’ll suffer the consequences by experiencing stiff and sore muscles.
Incorporating even 10 minutes of low-intensity cardio - walking or cycling with no tension will help to flush out the lactic acid that has built up in the muscles during exercise and reduce the effect of DOMS.
Your muscles contract over and over again with exercise which leaves them in a shortened state. Without stretching, you’re likely to feel stiff and sore. Stretching promotes blood flow into your muscles, reduces injury, and increases flexibility and range of motion. Post workout is the perfect time to stretch as your muscles are warm allowing you to ease into the stretch.
As we age, it’s particularly important to stretch daily as flexibility decreases with age. Try to incorporate yoga into your post-exercise routine. Not only does it improve flexibility, but it also helps calm the mind after a hard workout.
Another great tip is incorporating foam rolling to help promote blood flow and break down scar tissue. I have purchased a foam roller from Amazon to help with recovery and would highly recommend it. If you’re interested in purchasing one, click here.
Do you already have a post-workout ritual? Is there something that you think I am missing out on? Leave it in the comments down below! I would love to hear your thoughts.