Post-exercise recovery is almost as important as the exercise itself. When we train, we put our bodies through a lot of stress and strain, and without a proper post-workout recovery regime we run the risk of injuring ourselves.

Post-exercise recovery allows our muscles and tissues repair themselves properly. Not only that but it helps us train more effectively too, keeping our bodies strong, fresh, and energised.

In a nutshell, post-exercise recovery is essential to any fitness routine. And here are some tips on how to do it right. . .

Eat the right food

Food can have a huge impact on the quality and effectiveness of the post-exercise recovery process. After all, exercise drains the body of energy, and it’s essential to replace that energy so our muscles and tissues can repair quickly.

Choosing high-quality foods and consuming the right amount of calories are both essential elements of good recovery eating.

Though achieving an optimal balance can be difficult, it’s important to maintain an awareness of what we put into our bodies. Note enough protein can result in loss of muscle mass, and too few carbs can leave us feeling fatigued. So balance and moderation are key.

Hydrate

Our bodies lose a lot of fluid when we exercise, so hydration is essential for effective post-workout recovery.

One tip is to weigh yourself before and after exercise, and then drink 3 cups of water for every pound of body weight lost.

Rest

Relaxation is one of the most effective ways to recover after a workout. By factoring in constructive rest periods, your body can repair and replenish naturally. 

It’s also a good idea to incorporate full rest days into your weekly exercise regime, because rest is an integral part of building fitness.

Stretch 

Stretching before and after each workout is an excellent way to facilitate muscle recovery. Stretching helps to reduce lactic acid and improve circulation, and has the added benefit of making you more flexible. (See here for tips on how to stretch like a pro.)

Go for a massage

In case you need an excuse, massage therapy can help post-workout recovery by relieving muscle tension and ridding the body of toxins.

Also due to the relaxing nature of a massage, it can help to de-stress and calm the mind, encouraging psychological as well as physical recovery.

Listen to your body

Last but not least, just do what feels right for you. Possibly the most under-utilised recovery technique is simply listening to your body. When you feel over-worked or strained, take a rest. If you wake up the morning after an intense workout feeling sore and tired, take a day off.

Pushing our bodies too hard, and making them work when they want to rest, will only set us back. And if we want our fitness goals to be sustainable in the long term, we have to work with, and listen to, our bodies.

Exercise, recover, repeat

Now we’ve got the basics of recovery down, it’s time to get exercising! For some quick inspiration, why not take a look at these morning workout routines you can do in less than 10 minutes. Or supercharge your workouts with these 5 exercises for stronger shoulders.