Today we are exploring 7 ways to Post-Exercise Recovery after a workout! 24–72 hours after heavy exercise, swelling and inflammation increase in the damaged muscles. You feel pain from movement and touch, you cannot fully straighten your limbs, and their strength leaves much to be desired.
To alleviate this condition, many people end their workouts with stretching. However, scientists have proven that this technique has no effect on the level of inflammation, delayed-onset muscle soreness, or loss of strength. However, there are other methods that work.
1. Take cold baths
This method has a double effect:
- Cold reduces inflammation and pain, reduces swelling, and helps restore muscle strength faster.
- Water pressure accelerates the release of metabolic products from the muscles, which also promotes speedy recovery.
In addition, cold water reduces the feeling of fatigue and restores vigor. This is useful during competitions when you need to recover faster from one stage in order to show good results in another.
At the same time, you should not use this technique in your normal training process. At least if you’re looking to increase strength and build muscle. Cold inhibits recovery and reduces the anabolic signals needed for muscle growth and strength, slowing down your progress.
2. Go to the sauna
There is no evidence that a post-workout sauna helps reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness or speed up recovery. But if you go there before exercise, the effect will appear: after exercise, you will experience less pain and stiffness.
Scientists suggest that this is due to good warming up of the body. Staying in a sauna increases tissue temperature, reduces tension, and increases flexibility, resulting in less muscle damage during training and, as a result, less pain after exercise.
3. Wear compression clothing
Compression clothing helps reduce delayed muscle pain and quickly restore muscle capacity to produce force. Scientists theorize that compression simply reduces the area for swelling and slightly changes the osmotic pressure, which prevents fluid from escaping into the tissue. Less swelling means less pain.
However, it is worth considering that we are talking about wearing compression clothing not during, but after exercise. That is, you need to put it on when you finish exercising and wear it for the next 24 hours.
4. Use a massage roller
This technique helps relieve tension in the fascia, the connective tissue that wraps the muscles. Since delayed pain is largely dependent on changes in it, releasing the fascia helps relieve discomfort and maintain range of motion and strength.
In addition, massage improves blood flow, which helps to quickly clear metabolic products and reduce swelling.
5. Go for a massage
A half-hour massage session immediately or within two hours after exercise reduces delayed muscle soreness for the next 24 to 72 hours. After a massage, the level of circulating cortisol (stress hormone) decreases and the concentration of beta-endorphins, our body’s natural analgesics, increases by 16%. As a result, you feel less fatigue and pain.
Moreover, after the session, people’s concentrations of creatine phosphokinase and interleukins, markers of inflammation and muscle damage, decrease. That is, massage helps reduce inflammation in the muscles after training and restore strength faster.
6. Recover actively
Calm Post-Exercise Recovery The day after an intense workout can help warm up sore muscles and reduce pain. True, it will be easier for you only until you cool down. Then the pain will return.
But, despite such a short effect, it still makes sense to rest actively: light Post-Exercise Recovery reduces markers of inflammation and accelerates the restoration of creatine phosphate and glycogen – substances that serve as fuel for muscles.
The main thing is not to overdo it with the load. Activity should not exceed 50% of maximum effort. Light jogging or swimming in a pool at 65–75% of your maximum heart rate (HR) is good.
7. Take BCAA
BCAA (Branched-chain amino acids) are three essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, and valine. There is evidence that BCAAs may prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness after heavy training and reverse the decline in performance during this time.
In addition, there is an assumption that BCAAs reduce fatigue of the central nervous system after training and help withstand heavy loads, for example during competitions.
Take 200 mg of BCAA per 1 kg of body weight, including rest days. For example, if you weigh 75 kg, you will need 15 g per day. Divide this amount into 2-3 times and take during the day after an equal amount of time.
Whatever method you choose, remember that an adequate level of exercise, good nutrition, and quality sleep are more important. The combination of these factors will help you progress without much pain, injury, or plateau.
FAQs about Post-Exercise Recovery:
Q1: What exactly is post-exercise recovery, and why is it important?
Explanation of the concept of post-exercise recovery and its significance for overall fitness and well-being.
Q2: How do cold baths help with muscle recovery, and when should I use them?
Detailed insights into the benefits of cold baths, including reducing inflammation and muscle soreness, and guidance on when to incorporate them into your routine.
Q3: Can compression clothing be worn during workouts, or is it only for after exercise?
Clarification regarding the use of compression clothing, emphasizing the timing and purpose of wearing it during and after workouts.
Q4: What are the potential benefits of an active recovery day, and what exercises should I do?
Explanation of the advantages of active recovery and recommendations for suitable exercises to aid in muscle recovery without overexertion.
Q5: How do Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) contribute to recovery, and what’s the right dosage?
Information on the role of BCAAs in preventing muscle soreness and improving performance, along with guidelines for determining the appropriate dosage based on body weight.
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