Are you neglecting your body and health by omitting important steps from your after-workout routine? Here are three healthy habits to start practicing following every workout.
Stretch within the first 10 minutes
Your muscles will cool down between 30 and 40 minutes following your workout, so it’s important to stretch your muscles as soon as possible after your workout while they’re still warm. Otherwise, your muscles will contract after cooling down and increase the risk for injury. For the best post-workout results, stretch your major muscle groups for at least five minutes to aid in your body’s recovery.
Change your clothes within 20 minutes
If you’re unable to shower right away within 20 minutes of your workout, at least change your clothes to reduce the risk for acne breakouts or infections. Wet, dirty, sweaty gym clothes can increase your exposure to bacteria, fungus, germs, and yeast -- all of which can lead to worsened hygiene and potential health problems. If for some reason you don’t have access to a shower or fresh clothing, take a quick sponge bath: Dampen a towel or paper towel with water and pat down your body to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
Eat within 30 minutes of your workout
Eating within 30 minutes of your workout will help optimize recovery and reduce any existing muscle soreness, as well as prep your body for a better workout tomorrow. Focus on eating sources of lean protein and complex carbs, such as turkey meat and sweet potatoes. If you’re on the go and don’t have time to prepare a hearty meal right away, grab a protein shake from the gym, or stock up on nuts, seeds, granola, and other healthy snacks that will help maintain your energy levels until you’re able to sit down and eat a proper meal.