5 Natural Ways To Help Your Body Recover From Exercise Faster
Try these natural, science-backed methods to speed muscle recovery between training sessions.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Dehydration is associated with muscle fatigue, reduced performance, and other complications. A common bad habit of fitness enthusiasts is to focus on drinking water before a workout routine but forget about it afterward. Another bad habit is only to drink water when you’re thirsty. It is crucial to replenish and hydrate your body before, during, and after an intense workout. This restores all the electrolytes that were worked out during your session and reduces the risk of heat illness when training in warmer temperatures. Drinking enough fluids helps to restore hydration and, in turn, restore muscle function.
While nothing can beat good old H2O, you can also drink electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks or chocolate milk. Recent systematic review and meta-analysis have found that chocolate milk is a good post-workout recovery drink because it contains protein, carbohydrates, fats, water, and electrolytes. The best practice is to divide your body weight in half and drink at least an ounce per pound of body weight throughout a typical day. Keep in mind to adjust this amount to your activity level and outside temperatures.
Foam roll it out
Controlled laboratory studies have found that foam rolling is an effective way to improve circulation, boost muscular performance, and alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after an intense workout session. Also known as self-myofascial release (SMR), foam rolling prepares your muscles for activity and increases your range of motion (ROM) before a workout.
Foam rolling after a workout enhances the recovery of muscle performance by counteracting the micro-trauma that takes place in your muscles during exercise. It targets the soft tissue portion of your muscles, ligaments, organs, and nerve fibers that provide protection and support. By placing pressure on these areas, foam rolling breaks down scar tissue that may hinder muscle recovery and performance. However, foam rolling doesn’t just reduce tissue adhesions; it also activates mechanoreceptors and triggers endorphins. Here is a breakdown of the best foam rolling techniques pre- and post-workout.
Raise the steaks
Before you add supplements to your smoothies, focus on increasing your daily intake of protein. As one of the primary muscle repairing macronutrients, protein is metabolized into essential amino acids that aid in bulking as well as decreasing muscle soreness after training. However, having enough protein in your diet isn’t enough; you also need to focus on the right protein sources. This means whole foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and lean cuts of meat. The upside of this is that protein is versatile and can be just as great of a snack as it can be a meal.
If you really want to maximize the effects, consider having a small protein-rich snack before bed. While you sleep, your body works to repair tiny tears in your muscle tissue by using your protein reserves. By snacking before bedtime, you’re giving your body an additional boost to ensure it can continue repairing muscles overnight.
Coldwater immersion therapy (CWI)
There is a reason why so many athletes swear by ice baths, ice massage, and contrast water therapy (alternating hot and cold showers). CWI can help to reduce muscle fatigue and soreness, prevent injury, and help muscles recover faster. The theory behind this is that the constriction and dilation of blood vessels help flush out waste products in tissues that cause stiffness and pain.
You can opt for classic CWI – by immersing yourself in ice baths, plunge pools, or cold water pools lower than 59˚F. Alternatively, you can alternate two minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water while taking your post-workout shower, then repeat the process four times with a minute of moderate temperatures between each hot-cold stint.
There are various sports supplements out there, but few are such a game-changer for pre-and post-workout recovery as CBD. Hemp contains many different natural components, including CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC. It’s important to note that, unlike THC which is present in very low volumes, CBD does not cause psychoactive effects (it doesn’t make you feel high). CBD can be used to treat injuries, sprains, pain, and inflammation. This means that it is effective in providing pain relief as well as promoting faster recovery by bringing down inflammation.
Additionally, it has relaxing effects that create the ideal physical environment for muscles to recover faster naturally. It is crucial to recover faster if you don’t want to lose form.
*Tip: In addition to the above-mentioned points, active recovery (like a low-intensity bike ride or brisk walk) can also help improve circulation and promote nutrient and waste product transport through the body. The next time you feel stiff, go for a short walk.