5 tips for caring for your body after exercising
Exercising is incredibly important for your health. Nobody is going to argue with that. It’s good for your muscles, your energy levels and even your brain. It’s not just about having an amazing body to look at in the mirror, it’s about having a body that feels amazing as you go about your day. Regular exercise is something that should be a part of every person’s life simply because it’s good for your body.
The thing is, you can’t only think about your body while you’re exercising. You also have to take care of it after you’ve left the gym, walked off the sports field or taken off your running shoes. If you’re unsure of how to do that, here are five tips to help you out.
First things first, rehydrate
When you sweat, you lose water in your body. When you sweat a lot, as you do during strenuous exercise, you may dehydrate your body. If you’re at the gym or on a run, hike or jog, you’ll probably be hydrating with a water bottle as you go along. However, if you’re on the field playing a sport or involved in a fitness competition, you may not have enough time to hydrate properly throughout the event. Which is why you need to make sure you rehydrate afterwards.
Your body needs to recover after serious exercise and one thing that is needed for that recovery is rehydration. If you’ve just completed a long and strenuous sporting event where you were active for long periods of time without a proper break, you may need to drink something containing electrolytes. If you’re just doing some everyday exercise, plain water will do the trick. Think of it this way: the more you sweat, the more you need to rehydrate. So, if you’re perspiring from head to toe, get to the tap as soon as possible.
Once you’ve been all hot and sweaty, it’s time to cool down
Your body has been working hard and now you need to slow it down. Finish off your exercise with some stretches to prevent your muscles from being too stiff the next day. Take a breath and do these slowly, this is not part of your gym session. You’re trying to help your muscles recover, not work them further.
Once the stretching is done, get out of your sweaty clothes and into a cool shower. Staying in your sweaty exercise clothes can be damaging to your skin. The sweat that’s leftover from your workout can clog your pores and stop your skin from breathing. If you’ve injured yourself or have any wounds, they may even become infected. So, take those workout clothes off as soon as possible and enjoy a cool shower.
You’ve burned those calories, now you need to refuel
Skipping a meal after gym isn’t going to help you lose weight or get fitter any quicker. In fact, it’ll make it harder for your body to recover. You should eat between half an hour to an hour after exercising, even if it’s just a banana after a run and before your shower.
If you’ve just completed a particularly strenuous workout session, played a match or run a marathon, you should eat foods rich in magnesium as well as proteins and fats (the good kind, of course). If you’re working towards a specific goal, you should consider consulting a dietician who can tell you exactly what foods you should be eating post-workout to help your body recover.
Give yourself a quick (or long) massage
Your muscles have worked hard and made you proud, so reward them with a massage. You probably can’t afford to see a professional masseuse every time you hit the gym or go for a run, so learn how best to massage yourself. Remember that you’re not a professional so keep it light and don’t dig too deep. This is simply to make your body feel better and help it recover sooner.
To make it more enjoyable, use a lotion or cream when massaging yourself. If you’ve been playing sport outside, use some Aloe Vera cream to soothe any skin that may have been affected by the sun. If your skin has burned, the Aloe Vera cream will help it heal quicker and lessen the irritation.
Lastly, put your feet up and relax
You’ve done the work, now it’s time to chill out and relax. You may have excess energy after your workout session but your body needs some time to just sit and do nothing. Watch some TV, read a book or take a nap, you deserve it!