Top 5 Tips for Exercise Recovery from Mitzi Dulan, RD
Warm weather means the start of training season for many people – whether it’s beginning a routine of regular running, biking or swimming.
Get the most out of your workouts with registered dietitian and sports nutrition expert Mitzi Dulan’s top five recovery tips.
Keep it real
Some of the best exercise recovery choices are whole, real foods. You don’t always need special “sports” foods and drinks. Try a piece of fruit, half a sandwich (which provides a good ratio of carbs and protein) or Montmorency tart cherry juice, which has been found to ease post-exercise muscle pain.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can lead to muscle fatigue, decreased energy and performance. An easy rule of thumb for hydration is to take your body weight in pounds and divide by two. This is the number of ounces of water or a combination of water and other beverages that you should drink daily.
Don’t just focus on what to eat or drink after you exercise. While post-workout refueling is definitely important to help rehydrate and replenish your muscles to speed the recovery process, what you do before exercising is vital, too.
In two different studies, runners who consumed Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for a week before, on the day of the long-distance race and the day after experienced a faster recovery of strength and less muscle pain compared to those who drank a different beverage. To be most effective, researchers suggest using Montmorency tart cherry juice at least a week before a strenuous event.
Make sure you are stretching properly before and after exercise. This will reduce your chance for injury and help boost flexibility. Stretching after a workout will help ease muscle soreness.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is an important part of recovery for your body as it boosts performance with improved reaction time and hand-eye coordination. Sleep also stimulates the healing and growth of muscle. Research has shown that compounds in Montmorency tart cherry juice may help enhance the quality and duration of sleep to help you get a better night’s rest.