As the regular readers of my blog will know, I’ve been taking my health very seriously this past couple of months. In ‘Pimping up my Running Sessions’, ‘February Planning’ and “March Planning” I detailed how I have been hitting the gym and smashing my exercise regime. What I haven’t said is how I cool down, which is just as important as exercise to me. So, here’s a cool down plan that I think everyone will enjoy because it involves a lot of lying down and relaxing!
I always stretch at least the main muscles involved in the previous activity. If I went for a run, I stretch my legs (quads, hamstrings, calves, hips). If it was an upper body workout, I try to get the triceps, biceps, forearms, abs and back. It’s not scientifically proven that stretching reduces soreness, but it feels so good! Another feel-good thing you can do is put your legs up a wall (recommended even just at the end of the day, no necessarily after a workout).
Take A Deep Bath
I know plenty of people that like to get on the exercise bike or go for a jog to cool down. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t walk in the door without resting and letting my body recover. But, I don’t always see the need to do more exercise, especially when I have been on a ten-mile run! Instead, I like to sit in the bath, put on relaxing music, and soak in the bubbles (or bath salts – there a few out there that aid recovery). The warmth is good for the muscles because it gets deep into the tissue and aids recovery. Plus, the atmosphere takes the edge off and lets the adrenaline dissipate. Athletes sit in ice cold water, which is another option, but not for me just yet.
Get A Massage
One technique that athletes use that I do like to get on board with is a massage. And, no, I’m not talking about the ones people get in Bangkok on their gap year! I’m talking about a good, old-fashioned sports massage at Bodyworks to take away all of the aches and pains. A decent masseuse gets deep into the fabric of the body to make sure that all the knots leave ASAP. A word of warning: it can hurt. But, in the morning, I feel as good as new and ready to tackle the day. It beats lying in bed as stiff as a board not being able to move.
Yes, food! I love food, and I put my new found lifestyle down to my diet. Ever since I became a vegan, I have much more energy and stamina than before. The thing I will say is that the food helps, but the timing is also important. In the past, I never knew how much of an impact it can have on life and health, but now I see the full picture. Every time I exercise, I always have something to eat afterward to aid recovery. A bowl of lentils or some quinoa are excellent sources of protein, and it helps the muscles get bigger and stronger. What’s better is these types of food are lean, so there is no additional fat. A tip: I always try to workout so that I have enough time to eat when I get back. If time is a real struggle, I opt for a quick protein shake until I manage to get real food.
What’s your post exercise routine?
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