For some people, there’s no better feeling than hitting the gym and completing a successful workout. Personally, I like to put my earphones in, choose a playlist and workout for about 45 minutes and I do always feel better for it, both physically and mentally.
If you’re a fitness fanatic and find yourself in the gym most nights, then you probably find yourself with minimal aches and pains the following day. The main reason for this is that your muscles are used to the exercises you’re doing. This means it’s important to not always perform the same exercises time and time again as your muscles will get into a routine and you may not see the best potential results.
On the other hand, there’s no worse feeling than when you haven’t been to the gym in a while and you find yourself barely able to move the next day, especially if you have focused on leg exercises! You feel like climbing the stairs is more like climbing Mount Everest. To reduce the risk of aches and pains post workout there are several things you can do to aid the recovery process and leave you feeling fresh the following day.
Stretching before a workout is something that most people don’t do but is important if you want to reduce the risk of any possible muscle damage. Stretching your muscles before a workout is overlooked but jumping straight on the treadmill without warming up could cause you some serious damage, such as a pulled hamstring. Injuries like this could see you out of action for several weeks.
Feed your muscles
It’s important to eat before and after your workout, especially if you’re looking to gain muscle. Fuelling your body with the right fats, proteins and carbs, both pre and post workout, means that your muscles will recover quickly and prevent any soreness the following day. If, like me, you work full time and head to the gym straight from work then there are many foods that can give you a quick fix of protein and other nutrients you need rather than filling up on a full meal.
Having a sore/injured joint or muscle doesn’t mean you can’t work out – you may just have to swap the exercises you had planned around and don’t lift as heavy. If you’re aware of an injury then it’s important to complete light exercises so you don’t aggravate the injured area and to potentially help heal the injury. Being prepared and wearing a joint support will help protect the injured area so it may be worth doing some research and investing in one. There are many online retailers who sell joint supports, such as the ones from Doctor Arthritis.
So, you’ve stretched before your workout and now you’re finished. It’s at this point that the majority of us will leave the gym and head home. If you have access to a foam roller however, I would definitely recommend using it. Using a foam roller post-workout will help massage your muscles and can be used throughout your workout too, not just at the end. It’s best to work from your lower body and work your way up, focusing on any sore areas you may have. If you’ve never used a foam roller before then there are plenty of online guides which can give you a helping hand.