We’re all too familiar with the post-workout soreness that typically appears 8 to 24 hours after a workout. While there’s a satisfaction in knowing that soreness leads to leaner muscles, muscle stiffness can last for days and prevent us from holding that water ski pose in barre class without major leg shaking.
Allow your body to recover by scheduling a rest day in between intense workouts. While in recovery mode, we recommend eating these nutritious post-workout foods and using recovery tools like foam rollers to loosen up knots, melt away stress, and get you back into the gym faster.
Here, we show you the basic types of recovery tools and how they actually work:
For a DIY deep tissue massage, choose a foam roller. These tools prevent muscle stiffness and increase blood flow to sore muscles in order to promote healing. Since we all can’t get a deep tissue massage after our workouts like the pro athletes, foam rollers provide similar benefits to ease aches and pains.
You can place the roller under shoulder blades while lying on your back, and use your body weight to apply pressure by rolling side to side. Check out these easy foam roller exercises from Women’s Health as a guide.
The EvoFit Ensō Roller has removable disks so you can customize your massage. evofitforlife.com
For sore, tired feet, the Moji Foot Pro roller is made with 6 spheres to get deep into the arches of your feet. Freeze it for a cooling massage. gomoji.com
Say bye bye to post-workout pain with an ice bath. Studies have shown that plunging in a cold bath for at least 5 minutes after a workout reduced muscle soreness by 20 percent. Since a cold bath is unappealing to most, applying ice packs or wraps work too.
This GoFit Polar Roller decreases inflammation in the muscles. Roll out sore muscles with this icy contraption. gofit.net
The Dr. Cool Wrap stays in place while cooling sore muscles—much easier than the old bag of frozen peas. coolcore.com
A post-workout stretch increases range of motion and prevents muscle spasms, improving overall mobility and flexibility. Just as important during your warm-up as it is after exercising, make sure you incorporate stretching into your routine.
A lifesaver for sore calves. SPRI Unilateral Prostretch provides a gentle stretch for your lower legs. spri.com
For a dynamic stretch, try the Thera-Band Stretch Strap. Placing your feet into any of the multiple loops allow you to customize your stretch. theraband.com
In addition to incorporating these post-workout tools into your regimen, make sure you drink plenty of H2O. Proper hydration reduces muscle soreness. The optimal window to re-hydrate is within 20 minutes after your workout.
Want to feel even more relaxed after a workout? Try our 3-Minute Healthy Skin Workout.