• 6 Tips for a Faster Recovery

Initially, it can be a great feeling knowing that you finished a tough workout, but then your body starts to ache, you might have a little trouble walking or your arms feel so sore it's hard just to pick up your water bottle. The muscle recovery phase that follows exercise is when the body is rebuilding muscle. While that's a good thing, no one wants to endure it for a prolonged period.

Instead of suffering through, try one of these tips that have all been backed by science to speed up muscle recovery.

Soak in an Ice Bath

Have you ever considered taking advantage of the many ice bath benefits? Taking an icy plunge right after a vigorous workout is known to quicken recovery. The idea behind it is when you immerse your body in the freezing cold water, it speeds recovery by reducing inflammation, blood flow, and temperature in the muscle tissues. You've probably noticed at one point that using a bag of frozen peas really can relieve the pain and swelling of many injuries, like a pulled muscle.

Ice baths can also help you sleep better due to a positive impact on the nervous system which may improve your performance and reaction time in future workouts. You'll typically get optimal results if you soak in water ranging from 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Hydrate

Drinking lots of water after an intense workout not only prevents dehydration but it aids in eliminating toxins from your body. You should drink water throughout the day and the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) also advises drinking 14 to 22 ounces of fluid two hours before rigorous physical activity, rehydrating every 20 minutes while working out, and drinking more after exercise. If your muscles become dehydrated, they'll be more painful and take longer to recover.

Get a Massage or Use a Foam Roller

Getting a massage eases muscle pain and helps break up scar tissue. A study reported by The Atlantic found that just 10 minutes of pushing and kneading managed to reduce signs of inflammation in the thigh muscles of participants. It speeds healing by promoting mitochondrial growth and activating molecules known to reduce inflammation. 

If you don't want to head to a masseuse, perhaps you have a spouse or friend who can help. Another option is to get a foam roller. They're cheap and ideal for breaking up knots in areas of the muscles that are sore. Spend a few minutes every morning and evening rolling out those throbbing spots.

Sleep More

Your body needs sleep to give it time to recover and that becomes even more essential after intense exercise for speeding muscle recovery. Sleep deprivation can impair the process as it has a negative impact on the production of hormones that play a part in muscle growth and the body's inflammation reaction. You should get at least eight hours a night, but many experts advise athletes to aim for two more, noting that just like you need more calories, you need more sleep. 

Consume More Protein

Not only should you start the day with a high-protein breakfast, focusing on healthy foods like yogurt, eggs, and lean meats, but you should eat some before bed to help with post-exercise muscle recovery. Consuming an adequate amount will provide the amino acids the body needs to repair and rebuild, while providing the building blocks necessary for new muscle tissue growth.

Avoid Alcohol

No matter how much you want that ice cold beer, try to avoid it. Alcohol interferes with protein synthesis which means it will slow muscle recovery following your workout.

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