Is today’s exercise the cause of tomorrow’s pain? The June issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers tips to bounce back better after exercise.
Cooling down — A few minutes of mild activity after an exercise session allows the heart rate and breathing to slow down gradually and aids recovery of muscle tissue and the cardiovascular system.
Stretching — Gently stretching muscles that were particularly active during exercise helps them relax. Stretching helps athletes of all ability levels maintain and improve flexibility. It’s particularly effective after exercise when muscles and other tissues are warm and flexible.
Drinking adequate fluid — It’s recommended that people weigh themselves before and after vigorous or prolonged exercise. The weight loss is the amount of water lost through perspiration. For each pound lost, drink about two cups of water or a sports drink.
Refueling — The muscles and liver are most ready for replenishment immediately after exercise. Within 30 minutes of exercise, consume some form of carbohydrates, such as a glass of juice or a piece of fruit, as well as a moderate amount of protein. These help jump-start the replenishment of energy stores and the building and repair of muscle tissue. Replenishment doesn’t have to be in the form of energy drinks. A recent study found that low-fat chocolate milk — which contains carbohydrates and proteins — works just as well or better.