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As we push ourselves to finish that last set at the gym or run those extra ten minutes, we are often all-too-ready to high-tail it straight home and onto the next item on our to-do list. However, there are still things to do after a workout that will help provide much-needed relief to sore muscles the day or two following an intensive workout.

Even though it’s satisfying evidence of your hard work, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) (microscopic tears in muscle tissue that occur naturally in intense workouts) can be uncomfortable. Chances are you won’t jump at the opportunity to go back to the gym the following day when you have difficulty just making it down the stairs.1

Although the soreness will go away in a few days, there are things you can do after your workout to help ease overall post-workout muscle soreness and make you feel better faster.

1. Cool Down

One of the easiest and most important steps to take after your workout is to perform cool-down exercises. When you engage in intense exercise, your body temperature rises and your blood vessels widen. As you bring your workout to a close, take the time — even just a couple minutes or so, to let your body wind down and your blood vessels return to normal. Take advantage of your treadmill's cool-down setting and slow down your pace to a light jog, walk it out, or even cool off with a few leisurely laps in the pool if you prefer.2

things to do after a workout

2. Stretch it Out

Try incorporating some basic post-workout stretches, yoga poses or foam rolling into your post-workout routine to minimize soreness and speed up recovery. You want your body to return to how it was before you started your workout. Muscles stretch and lengthen best when they're warm and more elastic, and contract when cooled off. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid going straight from your active workout to an inactive or seated position.3 Proper stretching will help decrease post-workout muscle soreness, accelerate your recovery, relax any tension and increase and your range of motion and flexibility.

3. Refuel

Hydrate

When you work out and produce sweat, your body loses water. You need to replenish your body's water supply to help soreness and recovery and increase muscle flexibility and strength. The American College of Sports Medicine says you should drink about two to three cups of water after you work out for every pound of weight you lost during the workout. So bring a water bottle with you to the gym and make sure you’re drinking enough to stay hydrated.

Eat Up

The same way your body is calling out for rehydration, it will also crave food. After a workout, your body looks to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair muscle proteins used up during the workout. Eating the right nutrients, primarily carbs and protein soon after you exercise can help recharge your body, reduce muscle soreness and improve overall recovery for better performance on your next workout. Consuming a post-workout meal with a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein is a practical and easy way to achieve this.4

things to do after a workout

4. Take a Cold Shower

While we might think of ice baths as being reserved for athletes alone, anyone can take advantage of the evidence behind cold water immersion therapy with an icy cold shower after a workout. Cold lowers the temperature of damaged tissue, constricts blood vessels, numbs nerve endings, brings down your heart rate and increases your circulation, minimizing inflammation.5 A cool shower can, therefore, increase the healing process and decrease your muscle swelling. Not only will it reduce your chances of soreness the next day, but it will also provide immediate relief to any pain.6

5. Use a TENS Machine

As DOMS sets in following your workout, a deep massage is a perfect way to soothe bothersome muscle soreness while you recover from the comfort of your couch. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Therapy is a form of electrical stimulation therapy that uses safe, gentle electrical impulses to block pain signals from reaching the brain. Additionally, Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) targets the muscles directly, helping them contract and release, improving circulation in the body and transporting oxygen and other nutrients to the muscles. Using DR.-HO’S Pain Therapy System provides the benefits of TENS and EMS, making it one of the best things to do after a workout.

The Pain Therapy System:

  1. Relaxes your muscles with massaging sensations
  2. Helps promote blood and oxygen flow to any painful muscles you just exercised
  3. Causes muscles to contract and release
  4. Prevents pain signals from reaching the brain

By incorporating the Pain Therapy System into your list of things to do after a workout and reaping the benefits of nerve stimulation, you can avoid any medicated pain relief with a natural, non-invasive solution to speed up post-workout comfort and recovery.

things to do after a workout

6. Lastly, Look After Your Body!

After any workout, it’s very important to give your muscles time to recover, heal and repair. Mix up your workouts so you're using a different set of muscles the following day, schedule a lighter workout, or even take a day off.

Find Out More About How TENS and EMS Can Help Sore Muscles:

  1. TENS Machine: This is Everything You Need to Know
  2. DR-HO'S TENS Buyer's Guide: An Introduction to TENS Therapy
  3. How to Choose a TENS Machine.
  4. What is a TENS Machine?
  5. How Do TENS Machines Work?
  6. TENS Machine Side Effects: Is TENS Therapy Safe?
  7. What Is the Difference between EMS and TENS Therapy?
  8. Do TENS Units Really Work?
  9. What Conditions are TENS Machines Used For?
  10. Best TENS Machine: How to Find the Best Price, Quality, & Machine
  11. TENS Machine Reviews: Customer Reviews on DR-HO'S TENS Machines
  12. How to Use a TENS Machine - And How to Know You’re Using It Properly
  13. How to Use TENS for Muscle Recovery
  14. What Does a TENS Unit do for Muscles?

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Sources:

  1. Web MD, Sore Spots: 5 Ways to Ease Post-Workout Muscles
  2. Healthy Women, What To Do After a Workout
  3. Self, 10 Things to Do Before and After a Workout to Get Better Results
  4. HealthLine, Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout
  5. Fitness Peak, Why a Cold Shower May Be More Beneficial for Health than a Warm One
  6. Tony Robbins, THE POWER OF (COLD) WATER
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