Logging endless hours in the gym, on the running trail, or in the pool may feel like you’re working toward your fitness goals, but pushing your body all the time may actually stall your progress. Here’s why: When you crush a workout, you’re actually causing tiny tears in your muscle fibers. This activates an immune response to initiate a process of adaptation and repair. Basically, the process that causes your muscles to repair themselves actually makes them grow stronger, giving you a toned, sleek physique. But as with any form of healing, rest can help you net your best results.
Here’s how to get the right kind of rest after every workout, so you can rock your fitness goals:
After Strength Training
The day after a tough gym session, go for an easy 30-minute walk to gently boost circulation, or a light swim because it puts your body in a weightless state, which is super easy on the joints. Swimming also allows for a greater range of motion, which helps relieve tightness after, say, a hard day of squats. It’s important to address muscles worked the following day to increase circulation. Don’t neglect them or else you will likely find yourself really sore two days later.
After a Hard Run
The day after you log serious miles, it is recommended to get in 30 to 60 minutes of walking, swimming, or Yoga. Yoga is a wonderful go-to as you aren’t being hard on your joints, you can work on your range of motion, and you can address the core muscles which are key for stability,” she says. Yoga also opens areas that tend to get tight from running, especially in the hips and back.
After a Challenging Ride or Cycling Class
When it comes to riding a bike, good form, a strong core, and proper muscle balance are crucial. To help keep your body balanced, opt for yoga or myofascial release (a form of deep massage) the day after a hard pedal session. Use a foam roller on sore muscles to keep the fascia that covers the muscles from getting too rigid. Being seated on a bike in a particular position for a length of time can cause fascia to get very tight. Foam rolling can help prevent ensuing tightness.
After a Tough Swim
You’re still pulling your weight, and it’s a total-body workout. Try a stretch session, incorporating both dynamic (moving) and static moves. Stretches relieve tension in the muscles, and increase your range of motion.
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