We’ve all been there the morning after an intense workout. Stiff muscles, aching joints, and total exhaustion are just a few of the “symptoms” of post-workout stress on your body. Though these aches and pains will go away with time and stretching, wouldn’t you just love to avoid them altogether?
To help prevent workout injuries, you should begin to plan for some extra time at the gym, both before and after your workout. You might already do some warmup exercises before you get into your routine, but to give your body the best chance at recovery, you should add a pre and post-workout recovery routine.
There are a few easy tips and activities you can add to your routine to make workout recovery more manageable, and we gathered the best of them here in this article. We want to help you feel your best at all times, and to do that, we cultivated our favorite workout recovery tips, from stretching to cold plunging!
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Active and Passive Recovery
In general, when people are talking about workout recovery, they’re usually referring to one of two types of recovery.
Active recovery is relatively self-explanatory; you remain active at a lower level of intensity following an exercise in order to “cool down.” A great example of this would be taking a short walk in between sets of weight lifting!
Passive recovery is the exact opposite! Passive recovery focuses on remaining inactive and allowing your body to rest and heal. Though it can be helpful in some situations, it’s mostly reserved for major injuries or significant pain in a particular area that prevents movement.
If you’re asking us, active recovery will always be the way to go. The scientific benefits of active recovery techniques are well studied, and there are a few ways you can add some active recovery to your workouts!
Active Recovery Tips
One of the most important aspects of active recovery is movement! By putting your muscle groups through gentle exercises, you allow the muscles to function in their full range of motion while still resting the muscles themselves!
You can achieve active recovery in a few ways:
If you’re having trouble adding active recovery to your training days, consider turning a rest day into an active recovery day. Instead of taking a complete break from working out, just lighten your load for a day and focus on giving your body the attention it needs!
Get That Blood Flowing
Active recovery is so effective because it keeps blood flowing to your muscles. Blood flow allows the muscles to flush out lactic acid that builds up during an intense exercise and works to prevent muscle damage.
Another great way to get your blood flowing is with a cold plunge tub! When you take a quick cold plunge, your blood vessels constrict to keep heat closer to your vital organs. When you hop out, however, your blood vessels expand once again, increasing blood flow throughout the body. By adding in a cold plunge as a recovery after workouts, you can boost your muscle recovery!
Cold plunges are also great for reducing muscle soreness, reducing inflammation, and numbing pains that come from working out. And that’s not even getting into the mental wellness benefits you can get from a cold plunge!
Get Ahead Of It
Our final tip for workout recovery is less focused on healing and more focused on prevention. As the old saying goes, “The best defense is a good offense!” In this case, you can take the initiative and go on the offense against your sore muscles by preparing intelligently before each workout.
You probably already know that stretching before a workout is a good idea, but it is vital if you want to decrease your recovery time. Instead of standing in one place and doing a few half-hearted stretches, try and get your body moving and your blood flowing! Dynamic stretches and foam rolling will become your go-to routine once you discover the difference they can make on your workout health.
Preparing for a workout also helps you build muscles to take on a higher workload during the exercise. By lengthening your muscles and getting the blood flowing before they are going at 100%, you can better prevent injury and increase the effectiveness of all your workouts!
Listen To Your Body
Workout recovery can be tricky; it’s going to be a different experience for everyone. Most importantly, make sure you listen to your body and adjust your workouts and recovery efforts accordingly. What works for your best friend might not work for you at all, so if you feel like you just aren’t recovering from a workout, do some more exploration and research into what might work for you.
Cold Tub Recovery
We can’t spot you on your next set of squats, but we can help you recover afterward! At Plunge, we know the benefits of a cold tub firsthand, and we want to share their incredible healing capabilities with as many people as possible. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks on cold therapy and your body, or visit our FAQ page to learn more about our plunge tubs!