By: Alexis Atkins
Exercising can leave you feeling exhilarated and ready to take on the day. Whether you are hitting the trails with your sneakers pounding the pavement or jamming out while pedaling at your SoulCycle class, getting your body moving feels good.
But then comes the aftermath of exercising. The temporary aches, pains, and soreness that often follow after an invigorating workout can be unbearable. Luckily, there are a few aftercare remedies that you can do to restore your muscles so that you can race toward your next adventure without feeling sore.
If you’re looking to take your post-workout routine to the next level, keep reading this post for six all-natural tips for keeping your muscles in top condition.
Your Post-Workout To-Do List
Taking care of our muscles is like self-care for our bodies. Each step is not only indulgent, but it’s key to healing and maintaining our bodies in their best condition.
To give a little TLC to your muscles, try incorporating these simple steps into your fitness routine:
Cool down with stretching. Stretching is one of the most undervalued practices that you can do for your body. Stretching is not only good for you after a solid workout but it’s a perfect reset for your mind and soul. The best time to stretch is immediately after a workout because your muscles are still warm. Stretching following a workout will reduce muscle fatigue and soreness by eliminating lactic acid build-up. It also allows the muscles to release back to their original length after being constricted during your workout.
But these aren't the only things that stretching can do for your muscles after exercising. Post-workout stretching has also been shown to:
- Increase flexibility
- Support better blood circulation
- Boost energy
- Improve range of motion
Hydrate with plenty of water. Staying hydrated before, during and after exercise is a given. But did you know that dehydration can actually lead to painful cramps? When you do not get enough water following a workout, your body can’t function properly because water is necessary to transport nutrients throughout the body. Water also helps balance electrolytes like sodium and potassium, that can alleviate muscle pains. Be sure to replenish your fluid in-take with water to ensure you are refueling your body with the nutrients it needs to keep you going.
Relax with a salt-infused bath. After a high-intensity workout, it’s always good to cool down and bring your body back to its natural rhythm. Taking a warm bath will not only ward off muscle pain, but it will allow you to reconnect with yourself and focus on your breathing. Try adding all-natural bath salts to your water to encourage detoxification, eliminate body stiffness and reduce stress.
Goodnight Darling’s Deep Detox Bath Soak is the perfect addition to any post-workout muscle care routine. This bath soak combines the healing powers of dead sea salt, pink himalayan salt, and essential oils to encourage muscle recovery and ultimate relaxation. Dead sea salt is rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. When used in a bath, the salt can help moisturize the skin. It is also great for detoxifying impurities from the body and improving relaxation. Pink himalayan salt is great post-workout because it can significantly reduce muscle cramps due to its calcium content and increase skin hydration. The added lavender oil helps muscles unwind by protecting against migraines, stress, and anxiety.
So before you head to the couch to rest, consider drawing a bath with a mineral-rich bath soak.
Consume anti-inflammatory foods. Whether you opt for hot yoga or a high-energy game of kickball, your muscles are moving which can often lead to stress in the muscles. This means redness, swelling and joint pain that can stem from muscle inflammation. Although inflammation post-workout is natural, it can be uncomfortable. However, there are a number of foods that are anti-inflammatory and can prevent inflammation symptoms.
Some of these foods include:
- Tart cherries
- Goji berries
- Flax seeds
- Dark leafy greens
But be sure to avoid alcohol and sugar after your great workout. These can actually increase inflammation and muscle pain. So double-check the sugar count on protein drinks and electrolyte drinks designed for workouts.
Massage those muscles. After pumping your arms in the gym, the last thing you are thinking about is giving your muscles a massage. But it’s actually one of the best things you can do for your body. It reduces stiffness by encouraging proper blood flow. Massages also help alleviate inflammation.
Kick your self-care into full-gear and grab Urban Serenite ‘s Organic Sore Muscle Salve. This completely non-toxic salve works to combat muscle pain. Its active ingredients include beeswax, comfrey leaves, arnica flowers and mustard seed oil. These ingredients work fast to diminish swelling, encourage fast recovery to skin injuries and to invigorate tired muscles.
After your bath, gently massage this pain-relieving salve on to your muscles and watch the pain melt away.
Don’t forget to get some sleep. Allow your body to repair with a good night’s sleep. When our bodies are at rest, we can fully restore back to our best condition. Sleep allows our muscles to recover and heal so that we can get back to working out and maintaining our health.
Settle down before bed with a soothing cup of tea like Goodnight Darling’s Fade to Black Herbal Tea. This tea uses valerian root as a natural sleep aid to encourage deep sleep.
While you sip your tea, hide your phone away, dim the lights and meditate or journal to get your mind and body ready for rest. The recommended number of hours for optimal sleep is between seven and nine hours so that your body will get a full sleep cycle.
Looking for more non-toxic body care? Check out our bath and body shop on BLK + GRN, here.