Photo: Jason Kenworthy

Photo: Jason Kenworthy

Paddle Healthy: Post Workout Do’s

It's easy to let post-workout regimens fall to the wayside. But, your post-workout regimen is really important to your fitness. If you don't do good to your body after working it, you shouldn't expect to feel great next time you hit the gym or water. Use our five post-workout do's after your next training session and begin reaping the benefits. —SC

Rehydrate: It's simple, but rehydrating can't be stressed enough. The average adult body is about 50 – 65 percent water and most of us don't consume enough fluids to begin with. Not all fluids are equal- always reach for water, or, if you're a salty sweater, replenish with a sports drink (most have some sodium) with a lower sugar content and sans caffeine.
An easy way to figure out how to rehydrate is to weigh yourself before and after you workout, drinking 24 oz. of water for every pound lost during training. Also, check out the situation in your toilet; your urine should be pale yellow if you're hydrated. If it isn't, you're most likely dehydrated. Every body has different hydration needs, so monitor your urine to determine whether or not you should make changes to your fluid intake. Bonus benefit: rehydrating post-workout will also help cool your core temperature so you won't be steaming hours after.

Stretch: We always hear about how important it is to stretch before a workout because of injury prevention, but it's just as important to stretch after, too. Your body will naturally fatigue and feel sore because of the lactic acid produced during your workout, but stretching while the muscles are still warm will help to reduce both. Bonus benefit: stretching helps increase circulation, which you'll be grateful for as you age.

Reflect: Often overlooked, reflecting upon your workout can help you recognize where you are in your training program or in achieving a goal. Reflecting post-workout also helps you understand why your session felt great or awful, and will help you to make changes for better workouts in the future. So, next time you're ready to hit the showers, take a few minutes to think about and acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects of your workout, as well as what you'll do to have a more successful workout next time. Bonus benefit: reflecting will help you wind down and feel centered, for a healthier, happier you.

Track: Do it old-school style in a notebook, get a fancy gadget, or download an app on your smartphone, but track your workouts one way or another. Knowing what you did in past workouts can help you make better training choices for future workouts, gives you a reference point for your next workout, and allows you to see the progress you've made. Keep it basic and just record workout details including results and how you felt before, during, and after, or, you can take your tracking further by including weight (before and after, which helps with the first "do" on our list), gear used, the previous night's sleep, and injuries, as well as conditions and location if you were out in the elements. Bonus benefit: when it’s tough to motivate before a workout, you can take a look at the progress you’ve made so far and will feel prompted to continue working toward your fitness goal.

Refuel: After working out, make sure what you consume is worthy of going in your body because even several hours after working out, your muscles are still refueling. Carbs and protein are always the best combo, as you've likely burned a significant amount of carbs during the workout and will need protein to repair, maintain, or increase muscle mass. Bonus benefit: if you’re too tired to prepare a healthy meal post-workout, you can take a shortcut and grab a nutrition bar or whip up a protein shake.

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