Learn how to take care of your body after an intense workout with these essential post-workout care tips. From stretching to hydration, nutrition, rest, and more, discover how to promote muscle recovery and prevent injury.
May 2023. This article is independently written by Shelby Golding. All opinions given are hers. Shelby has been certified as a personal trainer and nutritional specialist since 2007. In 2008, she found her passion for writing about these topics and hasn't looked back.
Great job finishing your workout! If you’re actively exercising, though, there’s more to it than working up a sweat. Taking care of your body after exercise is just as important as the workout itself. And we’re here to help.
This post-workout care guide highlights some helpful tips on nourishing and rejuvenating your body to get the most out of your workout and avoid any injuries. Let’s dive in!
WHY POST-WORKOUT CARE MATTERS
Post-workout care is essential because it helps your muscles, joints, and tissues recover and repair. When you exercise, you strain your muscles, creating tiny tears that your body must repair to grow stronger. These tiny tears can cause inflammation and fatigue, especially when you don’t properly care for your body after the strain.
Post-workout care helps to reduce muscle soreness, prevent cramps and spasms, and promote faster recovery. By including post-workout care in your routine, you can ensure that your body gets the necessary rest, hydration, and nutrition to repair and rebuild after a workout.
For example, incorporating the right foods into your post-workout routine can help to replenish energy stores, repair muscle tissue, and boost overall performance.
Here’s a closer look at some of the benefits of post-workout care:
- Reduced muscle soreness: Post-workout care can effectively reduce muscle soreness. It does this by reducing inflammation and boosting circulation in your muscles.
- Faster recovery: Post-workout care can help your muscles recover faster, which means faster progress! It provides your body with the rest, nutrients, and fluids necessary to support effective muscle repair.
- Improves performance: Post-workout care can help you improve your performance during your upcoming workouts by reducing fatigue while providing faster muscle strength and endurance gains.
- Reduces the risk of injury: Post-workout care reduces your risk of injury by improving flexibility and range of motion in your muscles and joints through cooling down and stretching.
If you’re serious about your fitness, don’t dismiss post-workout care. Make time for it! Taking extra time to care for your body after a workout offers many benefits, and you’ll only be hindering yourself if you skip it. Remember, improving your recovery, performance, and overall health is essential for effective workouts.
The Post-Workout Care Guide
So, now you know that post-workout care helps reduce the risk of cramps, soreness, and spasms while speeding up your recovery. But what does that mean for your routine?
You can do several things to care for your body after a workout. These include the following:
- Stretching: Stretching helps to improve flexibility and range of motion. It can also help to reduce muscle soreness and your risk of injury. Try gentle stretches for the muscle groups you targeted during your workout and hold each for 30 seconds.
- Cooling down: Cooling down after your exercise helps bring your heart rate and body temperature back to normal. It can also help to reduce muscle soreness in the days following a challenging workout. Try walking for 10 minutes after your workout or doing a light yoga routine.
- Eating a healthy meal: Eating a healthy meal with carbs and proteins after your workout helps replenish your body’s glycogen and protein stores. Glycogen is a sugar your muscles use for energy, and protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. Try a meal with whole grains and lean proteins, like brown rice and tofu.
- Drinking plenty of fluids: Drinking fluids after a workout helps rehydrate your body, flush out toxins, and reduce muscle soreness. Unless your workout is intense and lasts for over an hour, sports drinks probably aren’t necessary and will add unnecessary sugars. Try drinking at least 12 ounces of water within 20 minutes of your workout.
- Getting enough sleep: Staying well rested and sleeping enough will help your body to repair and rebuild your muscle tissue. If you’re not making time to sleep for at least eight hours a night, it’s time to start. And if you wake up still feeling tired, you might need more. Try sleeping for 8-9 hours a night for total recovery.
- Applying ice: Applying ice to sore muscles helps reduce inflammation, which can relieve pain and swelling in turn. A cold shower can also soothe sore muscles. Try icing your muscles for 5-10 minutes twice a day after your soreness starts to set in.
- Self-massage or foam rolling: Most of us can’t afford a massage after every workout, but you can give yourself a massage or try foam rolling for free. Massage and foam rolling can help to improve circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation. Try 10 minutes of massage or foam rolling after your workout.
Following these tips can help your body and muscles recover from your workouts faster, so you spend fewer days feeling sore. And you’ll get more from your fitness routine regardless of what your workouts look like!
Bonus! Post-Workout Meal Ideas
Sure, whole grains and lean proteins are a start, but earning a delicious meal after exercising is part of the fun of staying fit!
With that in mind, here are some bonus post-workout meal ideas to add to your care routine:
- Eggs on whole-wheat toast: Eggs provide an excellent source of protein, and whole-wheat toast provides the carbohydrates your body needs.
- Yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit and granola: Yogurt and cottage cheese are good protein and calcium sources. And when you add fruit and granola, you’re getting healthy carbs, fiber, and fats to replenish your energy stores and keep your body happy.
- Smoothie with protein powder, fruit, and milk or yogurt: Smoothies made with protein powder make it quick and easy to care for your body after a workout. Add frozen fruit for healthy carbs, plus your favorite milk or yogurt for extra protein and calcium.
- Tofu, chicken, or fish with roasted veggies: Tofu, chicken, and fish are all good protein sources. Pick your favorite and serve it over some roasted vegetables to add carbohydrates and fiber to your meal.
Try to eat your post-workout meal within 30 minutes of your workout to get the most benefits from the protein and carbs. This might mean preparing your meal beforehand, which is why so many fitness enthusiasts love meal prep!
BONUS! POST-WORKOUT MEAL IDEAS
Remember to listen to your body and give it the care it needs after a workout. Incorporating a few of these post-workout care tips into your exercise routine can help promote a speedy recovery and keep your body in top condition.
Even the best post-workout care won’t prevent sore muscles altogether, though. So let your Kailo Pain Patch pick up the slack! Kailo can support you in reaching your fitness goals pain-free, allowing you to enjoy active rest and recovery activities even when you’re sore.
The Kailo patch is designed to relieve pain in seconds without oral medication. And that’s a good thing because taking over-the-counter painkillers is a temporary solution, and it’s unhealthy for long-term post-workout care.
Scientists theorize that the Kailo Pain Patch relieves pain and soreness by interfering with your body’s electrical system. In addition, a recent clinical study showed that 99% of patients felt pain relief within 10 minutes of using the Kailo pain patch.
Disclaimer: Kailo should not be used if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor or health care professional before using Kailo.