4 Things to Do After Your Workout
You’ve heard it before: warm up before jumping into a vigorous workout. Stretch to avoid injury. Drink lots of water before and during exercise. But do you know the important steps to take after a workout to keep your body healthy and strong for your next session at the gym? Work these tips into your exercise routine to reward your body for breaking a sweat.
Cool down. Much like a warm-up prepares the body for exercise, a cooldown brings your body back to its normal heart rate. Immediately following your workout, perform five to 10 minutes of low-intensity cardio. This should help decrease your risk for muscle soreness.
Stretch. Stretching is key to strengthening your muscles and increasing your flexibility. After a workout, stretching is a great way to reduce tension and stress on key muscle groups. Since your body is already warm from exercise, stretching will help lengthen muscle tissue, too, minimizing your risk for injury.
Wash your hands. Especially after a visit to the gym, washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. Staph bacteria, in particular, can spread in fitness environments with shared equipment. Staph can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and other issues and can become life-threatening if left untreated. Washing hands and showering soon after a workout at the gym can help reduce your risk for staph infection.
Hydrate. Water helps regulate your body temperature and lubricates your joints. It also moves nutrients through your body to give you energy and keep you healthy. And even after exercising, proper hydration is important. Drink 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes of your workout.
Online Medical Reviewer: Pierce-Smith, Daphne, RN, MSN, CCRC