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How to Accelerate Muscle Recovery After a Tough Workout or Game

After a tough workout or an incredible game in which you’ve given it your all, you may definitely find yourself feeling the effects of all the effort you’ve put in. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or an athlete, that doesn’t mean you have the luxury of waiting around for your energy levels to come up and that soreness to dissipate. Not only do you not want to spend the next day hobbling around, you’ve got training to get back to! Hoping to improve your recovery? Try some of these key strategies.

1. Start hydrating as soon after your workout as possible.

Hydration is critical to both your athletic performance and your recovery. Don’t put off that important element of your recovery! Drink plenty of water, both immediately after your workout or game and in the hours and days that follow. As you drink more water, you’ll help flush out that buildup of toxins and reduce overall soreness. If you’ve worked out hard, you may want to help restore your electrolyte balance with a sports drink. Some sources even suggest that chocolate milk makes a great post-workout recovery drink. Ultimately, the best thing for your body after a tough workout is straight water. Even if you’re tossing back a sports drink or chocolate milk, make sure you add in some water to aid in your body’s overall recovery. Chances are, you don’t need sports drinks for light workouts

2. Stretch.

Don’t let your workout or game end without taking the time to cool off properly. Stretching sore muscles can go a long way toward preventing them from tightening up, decreasing your soreness and leaving you better prepared for future workouts and the rest of your day. When you wake up the next morning or start prepping for your next workout, go ahead and stretch again. A pre-workout stretch will loosen tight muscles and make you feel better prepared to face the day.

3. Use ice, if you need it.

During a workout or game where you give your all, you may create significant muscle strain. Ice can help take down swelling, whether you’ve triggered an old injury or simply caused excessive soreness. Apply ice in a cold pack for no longer than 10 minutes at a time, and make sure that you have a barrier between the ice pack and your skin if needed. A flexible hot/cold pack can form to fit your body, making it easier to use where you need it most, while an elastic wrap can help hold the ice pack in place.

4. Drink down that protein shake.

Drinking a protein shake after a tough workout or game doesn’t just help give you back a little energy after that workout. By drinking your protein shake soon after a workout, you can help your muscles start to rebuild. As a result, you’ll recover sooner, with less of the soreness you might otherwise experience after a tough workout or a big game. Using a protein shake is one of the best ways to deliver that protein quickly and effectively, since most protein shakes are specially formulated to deliver protein in a way that your body can break down quickly and effectively.

5. Get plenty of sleep at night.

With so many other things going on in your life, it’s easy to skip out on a good night’s sleep–especially if you’re hyped up and celebrating after an incredible game. A good night’s sleep could be one of the most powerful tools in your recovery arsenal. After a tough workout, make sure you get in bed on time and get plenty of sleep–at least eight hours is recommended. That sleep will aid in muscle repair, staving off soreness and making you feel as though you’re ready to take on the world all over again.

6. Use a foam roller if you need it.

Noticing particular sore spots that are worse than others? If you’re struggling to kick some of that post-workout soreness, a foam roller could be just the ticket. Rolling out sore muscles can help stretch them out and decrease a great deal of your post-workout soreness. To use a foam roller, lower yourself down until the foam roller sits in the tight spot on your muscles. Rest there for 20-30 seconds, then roll it out. You should be uncomfortable, but not experience pain due to your position. You can also use the foam roller to roll out sore muscles and aid in stretching.

7. Use wrap or tape if you need it.

Minor injuries, like muscle strains and sprains, don’t have to slow you down–but they may if you simply ignore them and try to push forward with your training anyway. Use wrap or tape to help support injured or sore muscles during your next workout. This simple assistance can help provide support where you need it most, preventing further injury and ultimately aiding in your overall recovery. Avoid using wraps or tape unnecessarily, however, since your body can, over time, become reliant on them and start to compensate for the presence of that support, which could ultimately impact your performance when you aren’t using it.

8. Get a massage.

After a tough workout, a massage is a great reward for all the effort you’ve put in. A sports massage can help break up tissue and ease muscle pain.

You’re out there giving it your all, no matter what obstacles stand in your way. Don’t let post-workout or post-game soreness prevent you from reaching your goals! Whether you need a small or large amount of support while recovering, browse our website today to find what you need to help yourself properly recover.

*Please consult with a medical professional if you have any medical issues that may be affected by the suggested activities.