Post workout, experiencing muscle soreness and pain is quite common. An intense workout can trigger such issues, and that’s when you must rest. However, rest and recovery are not the same. Rest is a time period when you are not working out, which gives your body a break to prepare your muscle for the next day. But your muscle recovery post workout is essential. Recovery is defined as actions and methods that are used to assist your body to boost the healing and repairing process after a workout.
So, instead of dealing with fatigue and soreness, trust us to guide you for your muscle recovery process.
To help you, Health Shots spoke to Dr Girish L. Bhalerao, Super Specialty Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mira Road, Mumbai, who listed the right ways to boost muscle recovery.
7 ways to boost post-workout muscle recovery
1. Get a good night’s sleep
Due to the intense workout, your muscles get sore and inflamed which can be treated by some rest. Dr Bhalerao says, “Getting a sufficient amount of sleep can aid in quick muscle recovery post heavy workouts.” In fact, it can also improve your performance the next day. While not resting enough can increase the stress hormone cortisol, fatigue, and poor day-to-day performance. So, try to at least get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
2. Have protein after the workout
Workout recovery does not just mean lying on the bed, but it also involves keeping a check on your diet. “Having protein-rich food like nuts, eggs, or paneer can help you to repair the muscle damage and aid in faster recovery of sore muscles,” says Dr Bhalerao. You should consume protein both pre and post workout to help increase muscle strength and prevent muscle damage. But, remember not to go overboard on protein. Have it in the quantity recommended by an expert.
3. Drink enough water
You can get dehydrated if you tend to exercise in hot or humid weather and it can make muscle recovery tough. For better recovery, stay hydrated before your workout, during your workout, post workout, and throughout the day. And if you’re dehydrated, it can interfere with your muscles’ ability to repair themselves. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should drink 250 ml of fluid 30 minutes after a workout and 450 ml to 700 ml of fluid for every pound (1 pound is 0.45 kg) you lose while exercising.
Incorporation of massage in the training routine after exercise on a daily basis can reduce muscle soreness because it helps to improve the blood circulation throughout the body, allowing you to fully relax. To get rid of muscle soreness, you can use a massage gun. Massage guns can help to increase blood circulation, can boost the healing process, improve flexibility, and relieve stress.
5. Hot and cold therapy
Hot and cold therapy is helpful for proper muscle recovery. “A cold compress can help reduce swelling, pain, and muscle spasm, while, a hot compress can warm up and aid the recovery of fatigued muscles,” says Dr Bhalerao.
6. Give up on alcohol
If you consume alcohol in moderation, it will not affect your muscle recovery process. But excessive alcohol intake after workout impacts the body’s ability to help with proper muscle recovery. So, say NO to alcoholic beverages.
7. Don’t forget to stretch enough
Muscles get stiff due to a heavy workout. That’s why, your workout sesh should be always followed with stretching exercises because it enhances flexibility and reduces muscle tension. So, stretch and relax the muscle you used the most during the workout.
Apart from these tips, eating certain foods after a workout can aid your muscle recovery process and preserve your muscle mass.
Here are foods for muscle recovery:
Eggs: The most beneficial food for muscle recovery post-workout is the egg. Eggs contain proteins that include leucine, which can help promote muscle repair after exercise.
Cottage cheese: Paneer is loaded with muscle-building nutrients. Being a rich source of whey protein, along with boosting muscle growth, can also help in preventing muscle decoration.
Spinach: It is rich in potassium and magnesium—the two main electrolytes that the body needs for recovery. Spinach can help in reducing inflammation and promote muscle mass, ultimately promoting quicker recovery.
Banana: Banana is one of the foods that are already a part of a diet of fitness freaks. Consumer post-workout to boost Your muscle recovery.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and antioxidants. These nutrients help to reduce the risk of many serious health conditions and can even improve muscle recovery.
Sweet potatoes: Apart from the main nutrient vitamin C, sweet potatoes are rich in iron, calcium, vitamin B, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which can help maintain healthy muscle tissue.
Salmon and tuna: Both salmon and tuna are high in essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B, potassium, selenium, and iron. These nutrients can alleviate muscle inflammation caused by an intense workout.