We've all been there: After a strenuous workout, our muscles need some serious R&R. Whether you overdid it, experienced an injury, or simply challenged yourself in new ways, it's essential to take time for rest and recovery. In fact, your body counts on it. In order to achieve our fitness goals and reach new levels with our workouts, it's imperative we aid our bodies in post-workout recovery, as well as allowing for rest days.
Here are a few ways to ensure your body gets what it needs:
Get Adequate Rest (Catch Those Zzzs)
Let's start with the most obvious: Our bodies need sleep to recover after strenuous workouts. Of course, our bodies need sleep in general, but there's a reason you feel ready for bed at 6 pm after a long hike or extra challenging workout. Give your body what it needs by ensuring you're getting at least 7-8 hours (or more) of sleep. Getting adequate rest will ensure your mind is alert and your muscles are rested—helping to prevent potential injuries when you are in the gym.
Use Ice and Heat For Aiding Stiffness
Many of us are familiar with using ice baths and heat packs before and after workouts to aid in muscle recovery. Heat is excellent for loosening stiff muscles (we love using one before bed if anything feels tight), and ice works to reduce inflammation and any swelling if a muscle has been overworked. Try incorporating both into your weekly routine and see if you notice a difference in how stiff or sore your body feels throughout the day.
Refuel With Water and Nutrient-Dense Foods
Another no-brainer: The body needs fuel after a hard workout. Don't skimp on calories here, and feed your body nutrient-dense foods. We have numerous blogs with recipes on the site, but a few of our favorites are here and here. You can also snack on a Vukoo bar if you need a quick meal replacement. Oh, and don't forget to hydrate!