- Drink enough water during and after workouts
- Have protein rich meals after exercising
- Take rest days regularly to avoid getting exhausted
Maintaining a proper rest and recovery routine after a workout session is very essential for overall improvement in health and fitness. After all, growth and strengthening of our muscles happen only after we finish our workout as we rest and recover. Working out every day without resting enough can leave you exhausted. As a result you are more likely to become inconsistent. To give your body ample time to reap the benefits of a great workout session, the below points should always be adhered to.
Ways to rest and recovery after workout
1. Hydrate well
Having adequate amount of fluids pre, during and post workout helps in proper muscle recovery, avoiding dehydration, and reducing muscle soreness. A person should try to have at least 500-700 ml of water 2 hours prior to workout, sip around 200-300 ml every 20 minutes into the workout and around 500-700 ml post workout for every pound of weight lost due to sweat during an intense workout session. Although simple water can take care of most of your fluid requirements, other fluids like coconut water or unsweetened sports drink containing electrolytes can also be consumed to recover from fluid loss due to excessive sweat.
2. Post-workout stretch
As little as 10 minutes of post-workout stretching of major muscles (legs, shoulders, back, abdomen, chest etc.) of the body or the muscles which have been worked out during the session can help relax those areas, relieve tension, and reduce the chances of injury. It also helps decrease chances of muscle soreness and speed up the recovery process. A longer stretching session of 20-30 minutes on active rest days or attending a relaxing yoga session a couple of times per week can also be added to the routine to aid recovery.
Also read: Tips For Post-Workout Recovery
3. Proper nutrition
Eating nutrient-dense food containing high quality carbohydrates, protein, essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers are essential for post-workout recovery and growth. Carbohydrates with high-fibre content like whole grains (quinoa, oats, brown rice, millet etc.), fresh fruits, sweet potatoes, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, peas, beans etc.) will provide the necessary energy for the muscles to recover. High quality proteins like lean meat, yogurt, eggs, fish, milk, whey etc. will help in muscle growth. Incorporating diverse vegetables in your diet like spinach, sweet potatoes, carrot, beans, cabbage etc. will provide various micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, fibres, and provide numerous health benefits. Nuts and seeds, fish and fish oil can be a good source of essential fat which will help in reducing inflammation.
Also read: Workout Tips: 5 Recovery Foods For Exercise-Induced Burnout
4. Active rest and recovery days
Active rest days are equally important as workout days. They help in improving circulation throughout the body leading to proper nutrient supply to various muscle tissues and removal of waste products from the body. Light exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, active stretching etc. can be done as a part of active rest and recovery days. The idea is not to be a couch potato on your rest days and at the same time do not leave your body fatigued, exercise enough to keep it active and moving.
One of the most important and underrated things, a healthy adult requires 7-9 hours of good quality sleep as per National Sleep Foundation. Growth hormone which is anabolic in nature (meaning it helps in tissue growth and repair) is mostly secreted in our body during deep sleep. Cortisol, which is catabolic (hinders tissue growth and repair) in nature, is produced when our body undergoes a high amount of stress and is produced the least when we are asleep.
Getting that required amount of sleep is extremely beneficial for your post-workout rest and recovery. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol, exposure to natural light for 15-20 minutes during the day, avoiding large meals around 2 hours before bedtime, and avoiding blue light (mobile phones, TV etc.) at least 30 minutes before bedtime can greatly improve the quality and quantity of sleep.
Also read: Post-workout nutrition decoded
Exercise regularly and follow these tips post-workout to stay fit.
(Rahul Basak is a Fitness Expert at Cult.fit)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.