We all know the sinking sensation of waking up the morning after. Your legs are heavy and ache with spent exhaustion. Your head is pounding, dehydration threatening behind the relentless drumming in your skull. Your eyelids are stuck together and you’ve a thin layer of sweat over your body, making everything feel sticky.
If you’re thinking that’s a description of a hangover – sure, it can be. But what we’re focusing on is a far better reason to wake up feeling like you’ve been gone over by a steamroller: the intense exercise session.
Oh but you felt so good at the time! A huge smile on your face thanks to the miracle of endorphins, your hair bouncing and you skin radiating with health and vitality. It doesn’t matter if it was a full-blown triathlon or just a heavy session at your usual gym, the result is the same. Your body hurts and you need to recover.
1. Drink water – but with a little extra.
When we exercise, we lose water. You’re a fitness fanatic; you don’t need to be told this. But what we also lose are electrolytes. That’s why so many companies promote drinks to give you a huge boost of energy; to replace these losses.
Unfortunately, most sports and recovery drinks opt for pure sugar as an energy boost. Sure it works, but then the sugar high will fade and you’ll feel even worse. So quench your dehydration issues with water, sprinkled with a little salt to help replace what you have lost.
2. If it hurts, do something about it.
While there are a small amount of aches and pains to be expected after a heavy workout, it’s not something you have to put up with. If a particular area is causing you strife, then get yourself wrapped up in a supportive measure. Sore knee? Grab a knee compression sleeve and get on with your day. Blisters? Pad them and wear comfortable shoes over a spray-on plaster. Sweat rash? Shea butter is your friend to ease the discomfort.
3. Give yourself a mineral boost.
Along with the water and salt loss we discussed above, you’ve also been busy sweating out minerals, too. Replenishing these is vital for a good recovery time. Start with a magnesium foot bath, using Epsom Salts or magnesium flakes. Next, switch your salt from table salt to a mineral rich version such as pink Himalayan. You can complete the picture with water-soluble trace minerals which won’t taste great, but it’ll make you feel it.
4. Do a little more exercise
Did you know on the Tour de France, they go for a gentle bike ride on the rest days? It’s because exercise helps ease the pain of exercise, getting blood flowing and telling your body it needs to repair. Going for a quick jog early in the morning or just doing some at-home yoga can prevent stiffness from setting in. Just make sure you don’t push it too far, and make adequate time in the evening for recovery.