You expend a lot of effort during physical therapy and your regular fitness routine. When you finish a workout, you probably start stressing about the rest of your day or get to work on your to-do list. Not so fast! What you do immediately after your fitness routine can have a big impact on your results. Taking the time to actively practice recovery can increase the positive effects from your exercises. These tips can help you recover adequately and to get the most out of your workouts and PT sessions.
Take a few minutes to get your heart rate back down and then stretch it out. According to The American Heart Association, not letting your body cool down can cause you to feel ill or pass-out. Take a few minutes to slow your pace and lower your heart rate.
Stretch it out
After contracting muscles during a training session, stretching can help prevent cramping and stiffness, especially after an intense physical therapy session. Even 5 – 10 minutes of stretching can help dramatically, and be sure to hold each stretch for 15 – 30 seconds. We are happy to give you stretches to do after your exercises.
Use the foam roller
The foam roller acts like a deep tissue massage for your muscles. In a recent study, The Journal of Sports Rehabilitation found that foam rolling, when paired with stretching, could increase range of motion in the hip more than stretching alone. Foam rolling is also thought to help break up adhesions and speed up the healing process. You can also use it for support when stretching and to intensify stretches.
Take small sips of water periodically during your workout and hydrate again when you’re finished. It’s critical for your body to replace the water it lost. After sessions where you sweat profusely or work out for over an hour, consider having a beverage that replaces electrolytes, such as coconut water. Sports drinks tend to be high in sugar, so skip them unless you’re training for an endurance event.
Have a healthy meal or a snack
After a hard or long workout, your body needs to replenish and repair. Protein helps to rebuild muscle and carbohydrates will replace glycogen spent during the workout. Go easy on fats which can be hard to digest right after exercise. A smoothie, an apple with peanut butter, or a sandwich made with lean roast beef or turkey breast are all tasty options. Sports dieticians generally recommend eating within 30 minutes after a workout.
Monitor your progress
Stay motivated by recording how many reps you did, how many miles you logged, and how heavy your dumbbells were. This can help you to see how far you have come since you started your training. Of course, your physical therapist will also monitor your progress so adjustments can be made to your treatment plan.
Get your rest
Your body repairs itself and rebuilds muscle while you sleep. It will perform much better when it gets adequate amounts of rest, and as a bonus, you’ll feel more alert.
Change your clothes
Sweaty clothes can make you feel chilly and they can lead to rashes, infections, and body acne. Wear moisture wicking clothing to help keep your skin dry. Shortly after your workout, be sure to shower or use body wipes and change out of your wet clothes.
Following these post-workout tips will maximize the impact of your workout. Your muscles will recover more efficiently, and you’ll notice positive changes to your health and fitness levels.