As many experts in the health field claim, working out is essential if you want to be physically and mentally healthy. It boosts your immune system, fixes your posture and cleanses your body from various toxins. Besides that, exercising builds your stamina and helps you clear your mind and concentrate easier.
So, you’ve finally gathered strength and courage to start working out. And, of course, exercising feels incredible. But it’s all fun and games until you start noticing the annoying side effects such as muscle pain and spasms. Even though muscle pain can easily serve as further motivation, it must not be neglected, because it can be a sign of serious injury or inflammation. Just as the persistence is important, knowing how to relax your body and muscles after strenuous exercise is the key component to a healthier mind and body.
1. Rest and recover
Unless you’re some kind of a superhuman, working, exercising and running errands without time to rest is impossible. Giving your body some rest time to overcome and fight off the cold is essential. Similarly, resting your mind after long hours of studying a hard lecture is advisable if you want to keep up the good work. Why shouldn’t the same principle be applied to your muscles?
When working out, you’re applying a lot of pressure to your muscles. Naturally, you’ll feel pain to a certain extent. But if the pain becomes unbearable or the inflammatory process starts, allowing your muscles to recover is crucial if you want to keep working out. And what’s a better way to relax your tense muscles than to take the rest day.
Having a rest day from time to time is more than welcome, especially if you do heavy lifting or strenuous training. Contrary to the popular belief, the rest day shouldn’t be the one after the tiring workout. Instead of that, do some light exercises the following day, and take the rest day after that.
2. Keep moving
One of the hardest things to do after you’ve finished a tiring training is more moving. This is the time you just want to cling to your couch and never get up. Even if your body hurts when you breathe, doing an active recovery can help you relax your muscles. So, fight fire with fire!
Unlike sitting down, doing light exercises, or simply walking, keeps the blood flowing through your body, helping it recover from intense activity and preventing fatigue. Whether you choose to walk, ride a bike or swim, keeping your body active is better than cutting the physical activity all of a sudden.
However, active recovery should be avoided if you’re in a lot of pain. That can be a sign of a serious injury and such symptoms should be checked out by a doctor or professional trainer immediately.
Doing cardio and strength training is amazing for a full-body exercise. But if you want to convert your workout routine into a comprehensive programme, don’t forget to stretch afterwards. After intense physical activity, your body is tense. The tense body easily transforms into sore and stiff muscles. That can be prevented by simply stretching every day.
Isn’t stretching every day going a bit overboard? Actually, no! Even if it’s your rest day, by doing relaxing body stretches you’re helping your body release toxins that have built up and loosen up the stiff muscles. Additionally, by stretching you’re increasing your range of motion, so it’s a win-win situation.
Even though stretching doesn’t reduce muscle pain, it relaxes your whole body. Knowing how to stretch properly is essential if you want to avoid injuries. It’s extremely important not to push yourself to the point of pain. Besides that, bouncing into a stretch can be harmful as well. Instead, try relaxing your body into it, breathe through it and stretch until it feels good.
4. Soak in a hot tub
During and after intensive cardio, your body temperature rises to the point you start sweating excessively. Which is great because you’re releasing unnecessary toxins from your body. But if someone offered you a steaming hot bath, you’d hesitantly accept. Why would you need more heat when your body already feels like it’s on fire?
Taking a bubble bath isn’t only the form of self-care, even though you are technically taking care of your muscles. Besides feeling wonderful, hot bath will relax your muscles after a demanding workout. Additionally, it reduces muscles soreness making it the great way of coping with pain.
If you want your baths to be fully effective, consider cold to hot immersion. Submerge in 8-15 degrees Celsius cold water for about 10 minutes, then proceed to soak in hot water. It will drastically reduce the pain you feel and improve your workout performance.
After a strenuous exercise, our bodies seek relaxation and tension release. So, is there a better way to completely relax your body and cool off than by getting a full-body massage? Besides releasing the tension, a massage increases your blood flow and lifts up your mood.
Let’s face it, massage is a luxury we all wish we could afford. Imagine the tapping sensation on all the right spots. However, we can’t always afford to visit a massage therapist, financially and temporally. But that doesn’t mean we should give up the pleasure and relaxation massages provide us with. Luckily, we live in a technologically advanced world where massage chairs exist.
Unlike therapists, who sometimes tend to be careless, massage chairs don’t make mistakes. There is also no chance of miscommunication as massage chairs can be personalised and adjusted, so they do exactly what are they told. To suit all personal needs, every multi-use massage chair gives you numerous therapeutic benefits. The best part is that you don’t have to make appointments and indulge in awkward human interaction. You can simply enjoy the full-body experience in the privacy and comfort of your home.
6. Yoga and meditation
These traditional eastern disciplines have gained popularity over the last 5 years. Yoga and meditation combine full body and mind relaxation, stretching and exercises. After a demanding workout, if you still have a speck of strength left in your body, there is absolutely no better way to relieve stiffness then by doing yoga.
Yoga provides muscular relaxation, increases flexibility and range of motion. By practising yoga asanas, you’re allowing your body to fully loosen up and relax. When combined with meditation, benefits are endless.
You should implement meditation into your daily routine. Besides numerous health benefits, meditation helps you focus, balance your body, lower the blood pressure and recover from tiring workout. Meditation also releases pressure from your ankles and joints, allowing them to recover after strenuous exercise. So, sit down and practice meditation and proper breathing. It can be useful in everyday life.
Whether you workout professionally or recreationally, knowing when to stop and relax your body is essential if you want to prevent injuries. Just as performing exercises correctly is of great importance, properly relaxing your muscles after they’ve been through an intensive physical activity is a key part of a healthy body.
Combining relaxation techniques with a well thought out workout plan is crucial if you want to achieve maximum efficiency. But keep in mind that a key to success is being moderate, so don’t overdo with training or relaxation.