One of the things that can be intimidating about exercise is the aftereffect – aching muscles, a dry mouth, heaving breaths. If you’re starting regular exercise for the first time, the toll it takes on your body can outweigh the endorphin release that makes it feel good.
Today we’re taking a look at ways you can recover faster when you exercise, so you can approach each session with less trepidation, and enjoy the glow of achievement afterwards.
Hydration is always important for your sense of wellbeing, but never more so than when you’re pushing your body hard. Working out raises your heart rate, speeds up your metabolism and raises your body temperature. In turn, this makes you sweat more, depleting your fluid reserves and the stores of electrolytes you keep dissolved in them. These electrolytes do lots of important jobs in your body, and when your stores run low the consequences include headaches, sore muscles, increased thirst and difficulty focussing.
Make sure you hydrate before and after you exercise – and pay attention to those electrolytes. Water doesn’t top up your reserves of these key salts, so look to either isotonic sports drinks or rehydration products like ORS for sports to rehydrate fully and start feeling better faster.
One of the best things you can do to give yourself the best exercise experience is prepare properly: warm up before and cool down afterwards. This stretches your muscles, ready for a period of hard work, and then helps them transition back to their normal state, reducing the chance of discomfort and injury.
You need to be specific. Different kinds of exercise work different muscle groups – a run stretches you in a very different way to weightlifting. If you need to, do some research to find out which muscles your exercise regime will be working on, and find specific warm ups that work for those muscles.
Doing too much from a standing start can have serious consequences for you. Running too far, lifting too much, working for too long can all risk sprains, strains and other injuries that could put you off for good.
Think of a target you want to work towards with your workouts – whether that’s running a marathon, lifting a specific amount or any other goal. Don’t start there, but come up with a plan to help you reach it safely by developing your strength and endurance. Apps and websites can help, as can personal trainers and gyms.
Put all this together to come up with exercise routines that make you feel good, and stretch you physically, but don’t leave hurting and regretting it!