Learning the proper techniques and exercises for a sufficient workout is just as important as learning what to do post-workout for an efficient recovery. What you do afterward to take care of your body as a beginner can make or break your fitness journey and path to success. Everything from good hygiene to a healthy diet can play a part in how quickly your body will recover after high levels of physical activity so it’s vital to learn the tricks of the trade correctly.
If you’re just starting out in the fitness world and aren’t sure what steps you should take post-workout, don’t worry. This one’s for you! Read on to learn more about some of the best ways to cool down after a nice, long workout.
1. Wash & Treat Your Skin
It’s no secret that sweat and exercise go hand in hand. Sweat is our body’s natural response to heat and high levels of physical activity, working to try and cool itself down. Despite the fact that sweat does offer some potential skin-boosting benefits, the excess amounts of sebum (body oil) being produced makes it easy for bacteria and sweat residue to accumulate in your pores and cause acne to occur. For this reason, it’s critical that you remember to practice good hygiene post-workout by relaxing your body with a shower and supportive skincare habits.
When you’re finished with your workout, be sure to shower right away to decrease the likelihood of developing body or facial acne. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, try double-cleansing. Using a facial cleanser or balm for your first cleanse will break down any makeup, dirt, and bacteria built up in the skin. While a second cleanse with a gentle face wash, for example can work to treat the skin effectively. Therefore, making the pair a dynamic duo in preventing acne.
Apart from performing a double-cleanse, you should also consider incorporating restorative acne-fighting treatments in your post-workout skincare routine. This will further help you to combat the formation of any bumps and blemishes and also ensure your skin maintains a healthy moisture barrier along the way.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
On account of the large amounts of sweat and sebum being produced throughout the course of a workout, it’s no surprise that your body tends to be more prone to becoming dehydrated post-workout. Again, because you’re a beginner, your body is most likely not used to enduring this much physical activity, chances are, it’s not used to releasing this much sweat, either. In turn, you may experience one or more of the following signs of dehydration: fatigue, dry skin, dizziness, headache, and/or dry mouth.
While these symptoms may not seem that life-threatening, some of them will worsen the longer it goes without being fixed. Rapid heartbeat and breathing, low blood pressure, excessive thirst— are just a few signs that your body is extremely dehydrated. That being said, it’s essential that we get into the habit of fueling our bodies with H20 not only during the workout, but post-workout as well.
For optimal hydration, follow the basic guidelines for drinking water before, during, and after working out, as recommended by the American Council on Exercise:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising.
- Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up.
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.
3. Stretch Out
As a beginner, it’s probably fair to assume that your body and muscles are not used to receiving as much attention as they do when you start working out. As you are targeting and training certain areas of your body that you normally wouldn’t, it’s likely that you’ll experience muscle soreness and body stiffness when you first begin regularly working out. These bodily reactions can cause underlying health issues to develop, so it’s important to stop this from occurring.
Luckily, performing stretches or practicing yoga poses post-workout is a simple way to counteract muscle tension and better support your body post-workout. Aside from the obvious benefits associated with post-workout stretching— reducing muscle tension, tone muscles, and relieving stress, tension, and anxiety— there are also a number of other reasons this recovery tip is a critical component of your post-workout routine. Between boosting levels of endorphins, improving general posture and flexibility, and regulating blood flow, post-work stretching has proven to be beneficial and nurturing for the body.
Although you are a beginner, don’t be afraid to try out new stretching poses or routines. Learning new ways to go about this post-workout ritual will not only allow you to maintain interest more effortlessly, but it will target different areas of your body more sufficiently. So whether you grab a yoga mat and stretch out for an hour after exercising, or lay down on the floor for only twenty minutes, remember to block out a small window of time to relax and unwind your body.