Leg day complete: tick. Cool down done: tick. And for many of us a gym workout ends here followed by a quick shower and it’s off to work or out for the evening. But maintaining proper post workout aftercare will maximise the benefits of exercise and help your body to rest and recoup more quickly. So, what kind of aftercare really helps?
Sometimes called soft tissue therapy, this includes massage and foam rolling, and it can be done before or after exercise to help decrease feelings of delayed onset muscle soreness while speeding muscle recover. To perform your own myofascial release start with light contact like rubbing your skin with your hands, stretching your skin in different directions and holding the stretch for a few moments, and gently squeezing and massaging your muscles with your hands. You can use Legology Cellu-Lite oil, sparingly, as a massage conduit for this – it’s full of great stimulating aromatherapy oils which will maximise muscle recovery.
Even if you only have time to apply body lotion it’s important not to skip this step because good body care maximises the physical effort you’ve put in and helps you achieve your fitness goals. Taking a warm bath immediately after exercising can be beneficial because the heat soothes stressed muscles; adding a handful of relaxing salts boosts the benefits. Epsom salts work particularly well because when they’re in water the salts break down into magnesium and sulphate, and these minerals are thought to be absorbed by the skin, helping to relax muscles, reduce swelling and even pain from fibromyalgia. Add a good scoop and soak for as long as you like. If you can only shower one way to experience the benefits of salts is to use Legology Exfo-Lite body scrub, a water soluble mix of Himalayan pink salts and sea salt. The salts work to deeply cleanse trapped fluid, relax and soften skin. You apply them dry, before turning the shower on or stepping into the bath and then either soak in them in the bath or rinse them off under the shower.
Body brushing is another great way to maximise the benefits of exercise. When you are active your circulation and lymphatic systems are raised, helping to pump fresh, oxygen rich blood around the body and support the lymph’s cleansing benefits. Brush before, during or after bathing upwards in long, quick sweeps, from feet to knees, over thighs and hips, and from wrists to upper arms.
Follow with an application of Legology Cellu-Lite oil to areas of congestion such as thighs and knees, then follow with an application of Air-Lite, massaging the cream into the entire leg in an upwards direction. Air-Lite leg cream is particularly good to use after exercising as it contains a complex called Legactif which has anti-fatigue benefits. You’ll find it incredibly uplifting if you’re feeling tired after a workout too.
Eating right is an important step in caring for our bodies after workout – food is a building block to repair muscles and promote recovery. Exercise burns energy so you need to refuel to replace what has been lost. Eating a small snack that combines whole carbohydrate with lean protein is a good way to boost energy, replace lost nutrition and trigger the right changes in your body between workouts, so your system is in stronger shape when it comes to the next workout. Don’t forget to drink plenty of still water to replace water loss and flush out impurities too. A daily multivitamin and supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) can also be beneficial if you’re exercising regularly.
Sleep is a large part of the recovery equation because when we sleep the body generates most of its growth factors and hormones which aid in daily muscle repair and recovery. Getting the recommended seven hours of sleep every night allows those growth factors to do their work. Avoid screen time (TV, phones) and alcohol before bed and keep your bedroom cool and dark to ensure good sleep.