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How to Recover After an Intense Run? Five Tips to Follow!

Cooling down and stretching are important to include after a long and strenuous workout, such as a long, intense run or cardio. In fact, it is as important as a warm-up. The vigorous pace at which you exercise takes a toll on your body, depleting the glycogen levels. It breaks down muscle fibers and may make you feel tired. However, you can treat your post-run body with some relaxing practices that can even prevent injury and improve your athletic performance.

Eat Right and Hydration

Certain foods are particularly effective in preventing soreness after a run. You can indulge in a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein to accelerate the rebuilding and repairing of the muscles. You can choose a non-sugary source of carb and eat it within the half-hour window time post-exercise when your muscles need to replenish the glycogen stores. Prepare your snacks before you go for that run, this way you won’t reach for unhealthy snacks. Foods that can feature in your must-have list after a good run are plain bagels with nut butter, such as peanut butter or almond butter.

A quarter cup of non-fat Greek yogurt combined with whole-grain cereals and fresh berries, whole-grain crackers with slices of cheese, and an apple, or you can even go for ready-made protein bars. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water that can help control your blood pressure levels and ensure the transport of key nutrients to different parts of the body. If you have been running for more than 90 minutes, then get something more nourishing than plain water, such as electrolytes or a sports drink.

Stretch or a Walk

While we know it is important to walk and stretch after a run, but what you need to know is the ideal time to get a relaxing stretch or walk after a workout, while your muscles are warm and pliable. Spend at least 15 to 30 seconds doing gentle runner’s stretch after a run. If you are warming up, include a warm-up jog into your routine.

An Icy Cool Bath

Choose to take an ice bath right after a long run as it is the most efficient way to reduce inflammation and soreness that can affect the body. We know the idea of soaking yourself into an icy tub can scare you, so you can consider sipping on a hot beverage while you slip into the ice bath. Also if ice baths seem too chilling, you can try ice packs on the sore parts of your body, such as quads and knees.

A Massage or a Foam Rolling Session Can also Work

A massage sounds like a great endorphins-boosting indulgence after exercise. It is also one of the key ways to reduce muscle tension and soreness, prevent injury, improve range of motion, and more, as per the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Look for qualified and certified massage therapists so you can get the full benefits from the massage session and not get injured.

A foam rolling session can also rejuvenate you and give a good stretch to your muscles. Keep your foam rolling sessions short and once you get used to them, you can increase the time period for each session. Be wary of indulging in foam rolling sessions if you are suffering from a chronic pain condition or vascular illness. Don’t jump into a foam rolling session immediately after a long race or a marathon, but wait for at least a day or two. When in doubt, you can always consult a physician.

Restful Sleep is The Ultimate Panacea

After an intensive run, try to get a good night’s sleep as this helps your body to rest. Your body may also need extensive downtime to recover from tiring running sessions. Ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep a night in general to boost your overall health. Make sure you get that amount of sleep most days as it helps you sustain a healthy body and mind.

For running athletes, you must include at least eight hours or more of sleep every night, as per a Stanford University study published in the journal called Sleep. Athletes who sleep for more than seven to nine hours per night improved their performance at running times and performed much better on reaction time.

Try these hacks and tell us in the comments section below whether they worked for you and you got relief from sore muscles.

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