Whether you're a gym hog or an avid runner, adequate and fast recovery from your workouts are crucial. Rather than having to stare at the clock and count down the minutes until you can get your next fix in the gym or out on the trails, here are five ways to boost your recovery:
1. Rock Out to Your Favorite Tunes.
When you're trying to get through to the finish line of a tough workout, you may distract yourself with some of your favorite music. Not only does this serve as a distraction, listening to music can also help you recover faster. Following exercise, slow-tempo tunes have been shown to reduce your pulse rate and blood pressure faster. This can be particularly helpful if you have another fitness session or two on the same day.
2. Get Some More Shut-Eye.
When you don't get enough sleep each night, you feel down. You're tired and grumpy. This doesn't have a positive effect on your body when it comes to recovery time. It sure doesn't help with your performance either. Studies show that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders can have a direct effect – and not a good one – on your performance and your ability to recover post-exercise. In fact, according to the Human Performance Resource Center (HPRC), your performance can suffer by as much as 25 percent if you are sleep deprived.
3. Indulge in Chocolate Milk.
If you need an on-the-go snack post-workout, you may turn to a protein bar. However, you may want to rethink that and opt for a tasty glass of chocolate milk. Chocolate milk contains proteins that can help give your muscles a boost for recovery. Research suggests that the chocolate milk can also help decrease the overall amount of recovery time in between sessions. This makes chocolate milk probably one of the yummiest post-workout snacks to aid in one's recovery.
4. Eat Protein Post-Workout.
One study suggests that protein before a workout has the ability to trigger the commencement of muscle synthesis (or the repairing and building of your muscles) while you're working out as well as afterward (roughly two hours in the trial). It does this by delivering amino acids to the appropriate parts of the body, such as the leg in the case of this particular study, which seemed to be more effective pre-workout than post-workout.
5. Submerge Yourself in a Cold Bath.
You've probably seen it on television – where athletes take a cold, ice bath. You may think that they're crazy and think that I can't really work, but it can. Water immersion methods are known to significantly cut out the soreness that you're feeling for up to about 48 hours post-workout. It may even help improve your return to repeated sprint performances.
While these five things will help you get to the gym faster and be stronger, you need to make sure you take care of yourself. If you need help with recovery methods, contact a sports medicine expert like Dr. Lisa M. Schoene, for assistance.