Being active is absolutely key to living a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re a walker, jogger, sprinter, swimmer, skier, dancer, or basketball player, having a form of exercise you’re passionate about is essential to staying happy, healthy, and energized.
Running and walking are easy to fit into your everyday lifestyle – no special equipment needed – and therefore constitute some of the most popular forms of regular fitness. They increase your heart rate, build muscle, and decrease stress – an absolute win.
We give you major props if you fit in regular runs or daily walks, making fitness a lifetime priority. But even the most advanced runners forget a vital part of maximizing the positive effects a run can have: recovery.
Proper recovery is essential for your body to come down from a run or walk. It helps your muscles return to their normal state from an active one and allows your heart rate and breathing to go back to normal. Without proper recovery time, your body will inevitably feel sore, tired, and even a bit achy a few hours after your exercise session is over.
But what is the most effective way to properly recover after a workout session?
- Cool down the right way. Crossing the finish line or completing an hour-long spin class doesn’t mean you’re done with your workout: you should still fit in a cool-down to jumpstart your recovery process. A cool-down can include stretching, a slow walk, or other drills that help bring down your heart rate and stretch out your muscles.
- Water up. No matter what type of exercise you pursue, chances are you’ve released some serious sweat. Sweating releases fluids from your body, and water or organic sports drinks help bring those fluid levels back up. Hydration prevents achy muscles and even potential dizziness, so drink up!
- Refuel. You just spent time burning some serious calories – now it’s time to replenish them. You may not be starving right after your workout – and that’s okay. Try refueling with a portioned blend of protein and carbohydrates (think: eggs and toast, peanut butter and an apple). These nutrients will help your body repair any damage your muscles endured during your sweat session (muscle damage – not injury – is normal… it means you’re getting stronger!).
- Active recovery. While stretching is key to decreasing the potential for sore muscles, active recovery can also be useful; working out is never an excuse to stay on the couch for the day. Head out on a walk with a loved one, do a few errands, or go out with friends. The more active your muscles stay during the day, the less likely they are to feel sore.
- Self check-in. How do you feel after your run? Are you mentally and physically stable and happy? If not, reevaluate your exercise regimen: are you going too hard? Are you not challenging yourself enough? Reevaluating your progress is key to always improving and becoming your absolute best self.
All in all, a proper recovery is key to making the most of your exercise routine. How do you like to effectively recover post-run? Let us know in the comments below.
When your spine, bones, joints, and muscles are aligned into good posture, they’re less likely to break down over time. Breathing becomes easier and deeper as you open up your airwaves. Having proper posture helps improve circulation and even digestion, as your insides are allowed to move freely rather than being constricted by your improper body position. Poor posture over long periods of time can even lead to spine and nerve injuries as long-term constriction pinches the nerves in your back.
How often do you think about your posture? Chances are you don’t think about it all that much. Your days at the computer desk, hours running errands, or time spent with your kids all seem to fly by, and you might not have any idea how your posture looked and felt during all those days of activity.
We’re here to convince you that your posture is something you should be thinking about – each and every day. Not only does a good posture display a confident image, it provides immense physical benefits as well.
Of course, the first step in improving your posture is acknowledging that you need to start thinking about it. First step: complete! The next step is a bit trickier: finding and understanding your ideal posture. Ideally, having proper posture means your muscles are being held in a natural and neutral position. While some picture good posture as having a stiff back, that isn’t necessarily the case. A neutral spine is best for maintaining consistent, healthy posture all day through.
Once you feel the neutrality, imagine there’s a straight line through the top of the middle of your head heading down through the center of your hips and into your ankles. With feet shoulder-width apart, feel this natural stance in all its glory. If you tend to sit all day, make sure the computer screen stays at eye level, your feet are flat on the floor, and your forearms are parallel to the ground – then practice that neutral spine.
Set a timer to go off once per hour on your phone or computer as a time to check your posture. Chances are it will take a bit of time to get used to your proper, healthy posture – and that’s okay! The timer helps you check yourself to maintain a neutral spine the whole day through.
Take advantage of the benefits good posture has to offer. You never know what health issues it might solve… or how much happier it might make you!