Fitness enthusiasts know that rest and recuperation is a crucial part of any regular workout routine. Not only is it important to treat yourself after a gruelling session, but having something to look forward to can actually help to intensify your workout and motivate you to push yourself a little further. When working out starts to feel like a chore, finding a routine you like, sticking to it, and homing in on little ways to treat yourself afterwards are the best ways to get the most out of your routine.
Here are a few ways to show your body some appreciation and reward yourself (or someone you love) after you train.
Stretch it out.
Technically this should be part of your actual workout, but a proper stretching routine feels great and is an essential recovery aid. Regular stretching improves flexibility and range of motion, reduces the risk of injury, and helps soothe your muscles post-workout (nothing feels quite like sinking deeply into that perfect stretch for an overworked muscle group). Find a routine you like online, or ask a trainer at your gym for personalized suggestions.
A healthy treat.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but after a major calorie burn the most natural way to treat yourself is with, well, a treat. Reward yourself with something tasty and healthy, but let yourself have your favourite junk food from time to time too. It’s all about balance, and finding that perfect combination of carbs, protein and healthy fats will make your sweat session feel all the more rewarding. Indulge in a sweet smoothie, fresh cold-pressed juice, chocolate milk, a hearty bowl of pasta, or your favourite nut-milk latte.
Sweat it out in a sauna.
One of the best post-workout recovery treats may already be in your gym. Set aside 15-30 minutes to unwind in the sauna or jacuzzi. It’s a healthy way to relax your tired muscles and rid yourself of pent-up toxins lurking below your skin’s surface—just remember to stay hydrated while you work up that extra sweat.
Sometimes the best way to treat yourself is to take the time to do absolutely nothing (think a savasana for the soul). After an intense workout, let your body soak up all that hard work with the simple reward of time that’s just yours. Take an hour to nap, read a magazine, watch a favourite show, or take a nice slow walk. A nap up to two hours long post-workout is a great way to enhance your muscle’s recovery process.
Soak it up.
A warm (but not too hot!) bath is a great post-workout relaxation tool. Soothe sore muscles by filling the tub with epsom salts, eucalyptus, or your favourite essential oils. Light some candles, throw on your favourite album, and soak up all that rejuvenating goodness (even better if you have access to a jacuzzi or tub with jets!).
Working out equals feeling good, so why not treat yourself to new gym clothes or sneakers? Not only will you get a little endorphin rush from a new purchase, having an outfit that makes you feel good is shown to be a subtle motivator to keep hitting the gym. Think bright colours, pillowy running shoes, and coordinated sets that make you feel your strongest.
You’re working your body hard, and a post-workout massage not only feels great, it improves circulation, helps clear toxins, and relieves stress and tightness from your muscles. Headed to the spa? Consider a pedicure. Most exercise routines have a high impact on your feet, so take the time to soak and buff them back into shape.
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