Our 5 Most Effective POST-WORKOUT RECOVERY Rituals for Muscle Fatigue
So you went hard at the gym, pushed passed your limits at the barre, and made it to the top of that uphill hike! Congrats on showing up for yourself! But now all that hard work is showing up as "second day soreness." What we are experiencing is our body's natural inflammatory response as our body enters repair mode. Exercise and strength training the muscles leads to micro-tears in the fibers. Pressure is also exerted onto our bones through weight-baring or weight loaded movements. This is completely normal, natural and a necessary process of muscle strengthening and recovery! Every time our body enters this cycle of strengthening and recovery, our body rebuilds and heals stronger than before. Still, how we treat our bodies post-workout during the rest period is just as important as how we move through our exercises. On rest days, we get the opportunity to tune into our innate resilience, practice our adaptability and take the load of restoration off of our body and its systems by doing what we can to recover as efficiently as possible. Here are our favorite ways to recovery, and with good reason, they are all EASY and EFFECTIVE.
5 rituals for fast muscle recovery
1. COLD COMPRESS:
Cold compress is best just after exercise. It reduces inflammation by decreasing blood flow, reducing the risk of swelling. Soak a washcloth in cold water that has been mixed with epsom salt and an aromatherapeutic essential oil like eucalyptus. Wring out the cloth, roll it up and put in the refrigerator for a while. Press the cold compress over any sore areas for up to 20 minutes. Repeat every few hours as needed. This is an incredibly soothing and refreshing treat after going hard in your cardio-kickboxing class.
2. Body Scrub or Dry Brush:
Both are used for exfoliation of the skin. Gently rub a natural body scrub onto wet skin using circular motions. You can make a scrub by mixing a handful of epsom salt with a tablespoon of olive or sweet almond oil. If you are using a dry brush, use long strokes on dry skin toward the heart and circular strokes on the prominent joints (like the ankles, hips and elbows.) The friction of scrubbing will stimulate increased blood circulation, flooding the body with a fresh, oxygen and nutrient-rich supply of blood. But remember, be very gentle with your skin and always rinse your body after exfoliating or towel off flaky skin. Now make yourself an epsom salt bath and melt away the tension!
3. Epsom Salt Bath:
Experience mind-body recovery by soaking in a luxurious epsom salt bath. It's like a spa day at home! Magnesium sulfate works wonders after a workout. It relaxes muscles, soothes stiff joints, and reduces swelling as well as calms overall body inflammation. Aromatherapeautic essential oils will add another restorative dimension to your bath ritual. Put a few drops under warm running water along with a couple cups of epsom salt. Slip into the bath and take deep, expansive breaths to relax the body and steady the mind. Reflect on all the hard work you put in and all the love you are showing your body through exercise, movement!
Two of our favorite techniques are Yoga Tune-Up and Abhyanga. Yoga Tune-Up is a myofascial release (MFR) technique that combines stretching postures with self-massage using lacross balls to facilitates relaxation of contracted muscles and fascial release. Abhyanga is extra beneficial with the use of warm, herbal oil. The oil will help to replenish skin after sweating and losing moisture from a warm bath. Self-Massage will help bring your body and nervous system into neutral after being aroused into a state of fight or flight during high intensity workouts. Self-massage is also known to increase blood flow and stimulate lymphatic circulation. Treat your body with love, appreciation, and gratitude for getting you through physically and mentally demanding challenges.
Stretch the muscles to reduce post-workout muscle fatigue due to built up lactic acid... you know, that intense "second day soreness" you feel after strength training legs. Stretching is a great way to tune deeper into the mind-body connection. Focus on any post-workout sensation and breathe into any areas of stiffness, tension and resistance to ease a little further into the stretch. After working muscles, it is important to balance the strength work with stretching and by challenging your range of motion. Be careful not to over stretch or move into areas of pain.
How are you recovering from that post-workout burn? Tell us in the comments section below!