If you're no stranger to a workout, then the chances are that you're also familiar with the discomfort, aching, and tightness that comes the day after a bout of intense exercise. Using your muscles for prolonged periods of time can leave you feeling stiff and sore, as even the most experienced of athletes need time to recover after tearing fibers and putting their strength to the test.
Fortunately, we've put together a list of proven ways to speed muscle recovery, for those who want to get back on their feet and into their daily routine as quickly as possible. Remember, if you're feeling particularly achy, you might be best served by speaking to a doctor before you strap in your calf compression and rely on ice to bring down the swelling.
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
Never underestimate the importance of a good night's sleep. If you're one of the many people who assume that you only need a few hours in bed, the truth is that you're probably not giving your body enough time to recover. In fact, too little sleep could mean that you're making yourself more susceptible to injuries in the future.
Getting plenty of sleep is one of the best ways to speed up muscle recovery, so don't neglect your bed!
2. Stay Hydrated
Besides getting plenty of rest, drinking water after a hard workout can help to remove the buildup of toxins in your body and also prevent dehydration. This is crucial because your muscles need moisture to work and recover properly. Drink at least a couple of liters of water every day, and make sure that you almost always have a drink on hand when you're exercising if you want to speed up muscle recovery.
3. Try Compression
Although there's some controversy surrounding the claims that compression sleeves and calf compression may be able to improve your performance on the track or at the gym, a lot of research has proven that these garments can be ideal for boosting recovery times. By improving your circulation and limiting the movement of injured muscles, compression sleeves can speed up muscle recovery in no time, while helping to combat pain.
4. Chug Some Chocolate Milk
Drinking chocolate milk after an intense workout is one of the best ways you can speed up muscle recovery. Research has proven that chocolate milk is an effective aid for those that need to bounce back after exhausting exercise regimens. To avoid extra calories, don't be afraid to mix up your own batch of chocolate milk using raw cocoa powder and milk.
5. Enjoy a Massage
Need an excuse to enjoy some pampering? Massage is a fantastic way to speed up muscle recovery, because the pressure and movement helps to break up scar tissue and ease some of the pain associated with a tough workout. If you don't want to spend money on hiring a professional, you can always start trading massages with your significant other. If nothing else, it may add a touch of extra romance to your day.