Exercise Recovery: 3 Science-Backed Tips to Relax After Working Out

Try these post-exercise recovery tips to maximize the impact of your workout.

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If you don’t let your body recover after a workout, the results can be painful: Soreness, fatigue, and even fainting are possible, as is the near-certainty you won’t be as motivated to exercise again very soon.

In this Inverse original video, celebrity trainer Jenna Willis shares three science-backed behaviors in which to engage after working up a sweat, so you can recover properly and get the most value from every session.

Cool Down

3. Cool Down

That cooldown button on your treadmill is there for a reason. You should always cool down after a workout. When you work out, your heart and breathing rates increase as well as your body temperature, which can cause a venous pooling of blood in the lower parts of your body. If you don’t cool down, this can make you get really light headed or dizzy. You need to let your body’s blood vessels go back to normal, and get your physiologic systems back to their baselines.

Stretch it out

2. Stretch It Out

Your muscles stretch and lengthen when you work out because they become warm which makes them more elastic and pliable. When your muscles cool down they contract, which can lead to soreness if you don’t properly stretch after a workout. A good stretch will also help speed up your recovery, relax the tension and increase your range of motion. Remember stretching is not just about contraction, but also about encouraging blood flow to the muscles.

Drink Water

1. Hydrate

You also want to make sure you hydrate, because every time you work out, your body loses water. You want to replenish that water ASAP. Try to grab just plain old H2O over a sports drink, which is usually loaded with sugar and calories. Also don’t chug a ton of water before your workout, as this doesn’t properly hydrate your cells and you might get nausea or even cramp up. Ouch!

These are just a few workout recovery tips to get you started. To learn more, like the best thing to eat to get the most out of your workout, check out this video.