We all know how great exercise is for our bodies in the long-run, but in the short-term, each workout we do places stress on our body and requires a period of healing and recovery. The recovery period often includes soreness, swelling, and overall fatigue. Luckily, there are plenty of natural options that promote better and faster healing after a strenuous workout and here are a few of our favorites.
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Get 8 Hours
Sleep is a crucial component of any physical healing process. After your workout, a good night’s sleep will ensure that your body releases and regulates all of the necessary hormones that aid in healing and building muscle.
Tart Cherry Juice
Inflammation and soreness are a natural part of the healing process after a strenuous workout, but eating or drinking certain foods can help reduce the amount of inflammation that occurs. Studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice can decrease post-workout muscle soreness. Make sure to choose a 100% cherry juice that is not from concentrate, to ensure that none of the benefits have been lost to processing.
Coconut water contains plenty of potassium, which makes it a good natural alternative to sports drinks for replacing electrolytes lost during intense, sweaty workouts. Be sure to look for brands without added sugar or preservatives. If your workout was moderate-intensity and less than 30 minutes long, electrolyte loss is usually not substantial, and water will replenish your fluids just fine.
Food for Fuel
Eating the right kinds of food in the hour following your workout can help with the recovery process. In addition to electrolytes, after exercise your body needs protein to aid in muscle repair, and carbohydrates to replace the ones your body just used to fuel your workout. Some good post-workout food options are brown rice with chicken and veggies or a peanut butter and banana sandwich on wheat bread.
“Active recovery” can significantly decrease your recovery time after a hard workout. This can include using a foam roller on sore muscles, stretching or yoga, or even going on a walk. Any activity that gets the blood flowing will help you feel better, faster.
Dull the Pain
Even if you do everything right after your workout, sometimes your muscles still get sore. If that’s the case, certain essential oils known for the pain relieving qualities can help. Lavender and Peppermint are great options to have on hand for dealing with those nagging aches. A few drops mixed in with your favorite carrier oil and massaged into overworked muscles can be a wonderful treat.