Unwinding after a hard workout is often overlooked as people believe the physical activity of workouts is the most and only important aspect of exercise. Unwinding after a workout should not be ignored. Exercise is commonly known as the act of physical activity. This can be for athletic performance, sports or leisure.

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However, to take advantage of all the benefits derived from your physical activity efforts, you need to know how to prepare well before exercise and how to unwind after. If a hard workout is the cake, post-workout recovery and relaxing the body is the cherry on the top.

Being able to unwind after a workout is paramount to your physical health and mental condition. It helps your body recover and recondition after tearing muscle fibres and pushing its limits. This is essential in creating positive progress with your health. Unwinding in a way that best suits you will also cool you down and settle you mentally.

Heres how you can unwind after a hard workout to balance yourself.

1. Stretch The Body Out

Stretching the body takes away the toil and tension built up in muscles and joints after the workout. The reason why stretching is essential is that it will prevent the body from cramping later, further strengthen joints and muscles while also improving flexibility.

Stretching is synonymous with unwinding as the actual act of stretching is very calming. It requires the body to be patient by connecting the mind with the body. When your body becomes limber, your mood will also be relaxed. So no matter what type of exercise ‘you’re doing or what you do to unwind, do not skip stretching. 

2. Practice Your Breathing

High-intensity workouts that get your heart rate going and make you break a sweat will make you feel like your body is at its limit. Though the feeling of trying to catch breath may not be very pleasurable, at least you know your exercise is working, your cardiovascular system is strengthening, and your endurance is building.

The best way to get out of heavy breathing or panting is to practice breathing techniques. During and after high-intensity training such as swimming, running or cycling, take deep breaths by creating a timed pattern.

Inhaling deep with the nose and exhaling deep through the mouth is the best technique to calm the body and mind by increasing and spreading oxygen throughout the body. This helps you to relax and recoup. 

3. Get a Massage

Massages are not essential. They also are one of the more expensive forms of post-workout unwinding. But what makes massage so great with unwinding is that it is extremely relaxing for the mind and body while also limbering the body.

Just like stretching, massages help to undo the toil and tensions made through workouts. By limbering the body, this also helps in producing the likeliness of cramping or injury. The calm and relaxing settings of massages will counter the stress made from hard workouts. 

4. Eat Well

Hunger is one of the first feelings you get after a hard workout. But rightfully so as replenishing the body with healthy nutrients through food is the best way to recover. The body needs protein for muscle tissue recovery, carbohydrates for the energy lost in exercise and electrolytes to replenish the water loss through sweat.

Multiple studies have shown that post-workout meals should come within one hour after a workout. This is when the body needs to be refed. However, do not be fooled. After intense physical training, the body and mind will start to crave junk food as a reward for hard physical work.

Do not consume bad foods as what the body needs is wholesome and essential nutrients that are easy to digest. You ‘can’t unwind with junk food as your body will feel bloated and ‘you’ll crash after.

5. Have a Warm Bath or Shower

Warm baths or showers is one of the best ways for the body’s temperature to adjust after workouts. The heat from warm baths and showers will help the body to settle after hard workouts.

By exposing cold temperatures instantly to the warmth of a body after exercise can cause sickness or flu. Temperature shock can also cause severe cramping after exercise. Warm baths and showers are also relaxing and can increase your level of calm.

6. Do Low-Intensity Cardio

Low-intensity cardio such as walking is similar to stretching. It helps the heart rate to adjust better and also doesn’t shock the body from physical exercise to sedentary mode.

Going for low-intensity short walks also helps the mind to calm, gives you extra breathing space while still burning calories. Low-intensity cardio can also be done outdoors, giving you the chance to breathe fresh air as opposed to staying indoors. 

7. Meditation

Meditation is essential for the mind to unwind. Meditation is best incorporated after low-intensity cardio or stretching. As stretching and cardio are more tailored towards the unwinding of the body, meditation is more tailored for the mind.

When the mind is at peace, the body will follow. Meditation will require you to remain calm, develop patience and require discipline. Meditation will help to remove the stress and tension psychologically built up during exercise. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.