Everybody knows that regular exercise is important to keeping a healthy heart and body. However in most cases winding down after exercise can sometimes be as important as the workout in its own right, as this is where you may be tempted to relapse into bad habits. Like adding sealant to a finely crafted wood sculpture, winding down properly after a bout of exercise is important as you can be sure that the effects of your workout are long lasting and don’t pose a risk to your health through overexertion.
Everybody knows how important it is to remain hydrated while you are exercising, however it is easy to forget to keep drinking essential fluids after you have stopped your workout. While your body loses fluids easily it can take a few hours for our body to reabsorb the fluid it has lost during exercise, particularly strenuous exercise.
Therefore it is important to keep drinking liquids after a workout. Try to avoid carbonated drinks or alcohol after a workout as these actually have the opposite effect of making you feel more dehydrated. Fruit juices can be alright to drink but check if they contain any added artificial sugars as this can make you thirstier. Water is best to regain fluids after a workout and although it might not be as refreshing, drinking warm water will help your body to absorb the fluid more quickly, as it doesn’t need to bring it up to body temperature.
There are a number of ways to help with muscle relaxation after a workout, among these is having a long hot bath or shower with some soothing lotions, or alternatively you can practise a tense and release exercise. This is where you systematically go through the muscles in your body, tensing then relaxing them individually for a short period of time. This also helps when winding down and preparing for a good night’s sleep.
Build up of Tension
When you have tense or aching muscles after a workout, if you overexert yourself this can lead to a build up of tension, making the muscles and tendons more prone to injury and this is harmful to your health. You can help prevent this build up of tension by gently stretching after your exercise, or by indulging in a nice massage.
Periods of Rest
Although it is important to exercise regularly, if you exercise every single day without respite you could be putting excess strain on the muscles used, and this can lead to injury. For the best results it is good to have a day of rest between workouts, as you’ll be able to feel the burn more effectively after a period of rest.
If you have been exercising right before bed and need to wind down in order to sleep better, you can wind down by having a glass of warm milk or tea and reading a book or a magazine. Try not to use electronics or the computer for at least 20 minutes before bed, as you can actually strain your eyes and your brain will become restless from processing information on screen.
Having suffered from several joint complaints over the years, Mike James knows the importance of ensuring the body is well oiled and prepared for exercise. When feeling up to par he enjoys tennis at Wickwoods Country Club in west Sussex.