When we put in the time to focus on our fitness, we put a lot of thought into optimizing our workout. We know which exercises motivate us to get moving, and we concentrate on areas where we want to see improvement. While we put this much effort into planning our workouts, we often don't give as much consideration to just what our body needs to recover after the fact. What you do after you exercise can have a great impact on the results of the work you put in, so you want to make sure your post-workout habits aren't working against you.
Julius Jamison, a top trainer at New York Health and Racquet Club, tells Well+Good that "from the foods we eat to the amount of rest we get, the decisions we make post-workout all impact the way our body recovers, repairs, and even grows." So while how hard you push yourself during your workout—increasing your reps and breaking personal records—is important, how well you take care of your body when you're resting is just as significant. Scroll on to see the common mistakes you could be making after you work out, as well as advice for correcting them.
Not rehydrating enough: While you're working out, it's likely you're not getting enough of the water you need. Therefore it's extra pertinent you rehydrate once your workout is over. Rebecca Kennedy, a master trainer at Barry's Bootcamp, tells Well+Good that in addition to water, she recommends a recovery drink to refuel after a particularly sweaty workout—nothing "you're going to need to replenish your glycogen levels and replace electrolytes, both of which assist recovery."
Skipping stretching: After your workout, you likely find yourself rushing back to the real world rather than taking the time to focus on your body's recovery. Jamison underscores how important it is to even get a quick stretch in, as failing to do so "could cause limitations in your range of motion, which could make you more susceptible to injuries."
Not staying active for the rest of the day: Whenever you work out—before work, after you leave the office, on your lunch break—the timing makes it likely you'll find yourself very sedentary immediately after (sitting at your desk for the remainder of the day or lounging on the couch as soon as you get home). This sudden change in movement can cause your body to tighten up. Commit to finding a way to get active and stimulate blood flow again, taking a quick break to do dynamic stretches and getting up on your feet to walk.
What are your rules for recouping after a workout? Head to the comments to share your tips with us.