The euphoria you get from working out is the best feeling in the world. Though it barely lasts after the session; then, it’s just soreness all over. Muscle strain is inevitable, especially if it’s only your first few times working out. The aching pain makes you not want to move any more muscle, so what do you do?
How to relax tired muscles varies from person to person, depending on their preference or fitness level. Fortunately, there are standard and time-tested solutions. Here’s how you relax post-workout from the comfort of your own home:
Contrary to popular belief, it’s shifting between warm and cold water that relieves tension off your muscles, and not just a hot bath. Thus, your shower needs to be able to alter temperatures efficiently. If you live in Salt Lake City, water heater repair and maintenance services can keep your heater running smoothly.
You start with an ice-cold water rinse to decrease blood flow and stiffen your muscles and joints to avoid prolonged inflammation. You don’t want to make them stiff for too long, though. That’s why you move to a hot shower afterward. This relieves tension and hastens recovery.
Drink your protein shake
Some health nuts would suggest complying to the “anabolic window,” or the period after your workout when you should consume your protein to maximize their effect. However, experts suggest that meeting your daily protein requirement is more important than consuming it at a particular time.
Therefore, it boils down to your prerogative. Protein shakes are nonetheless a delicious way to relax and enjoy yourself post-workout. Try to consume casein protein. It’s a complete milk protein that contains all the essential amino acids and digests much slower than whey, making you feel fuller for longer when you fast.
Get a good massage
A post-workout massage always feels the best. Aside from lifting your mood, a good massage improves your blood flow and brings more oxygen into your muscles, giving you more energy as you recover.
If you can’t go to a masseuse, you can try foam rolling. A slow foam roll improves muscle flexibility and decreases the effects of delayed-onset muscle strain, or DOMS by slowly softening those stiff tissues around the muscle called fascia. You can also try water cure or hydrotherapy to soothe your sore muscles while also relaxing over water.
Walk it off
Sometimes, the fix to sore muscles after a workout is more workout, just less intense. Experts say that light and easy cardio helps your muscles gradually ease into a relaxed state. Instead of instantly stopping and dropping down after a workout, your muscles need time to loosen up and thus can use the stretch from slow but continuous motion.
You can use this time for breathing exercises as well. Relax both your body and mind by brisk-walking through the park or by the beach.
A good meditation session will also help you relax after a workout. Meditating and deep-breathing in a quiet environment also decrease nervous activity and return cortisol production to normal. This is the hormone that always stresses your body into a panicked state when you work out.
Rest in a comfortable position and take deep breaths. Hold your breath for five seconds before breathing out, clearing your head in the process. You can do this anytime and get the same euphoric feeling afterward.
Relaxing after your exercise shouldn’t just relieve your body of soreness to get it back to a “lazy state” and make you loathe ever working out. It should also prepare your body for the next time you work out.