Here's How You Should End All Of Your Workouts

A solid workout routine is amazing for your health. Even starting slow with something like a 20-minute walk can put you in a better mood, improve your heart health, and give you a burst of energy (via Simple Most), so it's worth incorporating more activity into your lifestyle. 

When you start regularly getting a sweat in, you'll probably start to notice positive changes in your body fairly quickly. While this can be great, there are some steps you'll want to take following the completion of your workout to ensure that you continue feeling good, avoid injuries, and get the full benefits of your workout.

Luckily, most of these steps will just feel like a little extra self-care. Once your routine has become a bit healthier, you'll be able to incorporate workouts and post-workout care into your daily life effortlessly. Some of them may surprise you, some may be tried and true, and all of them will make your body feel good.

A little post-workout activity goes a long way

Stretching is one of the most important things to do following a workout. Once you turn off the treadmill or put down the weights, be sure to get a good cooldown and stretch in. A cooldown and stretch post-workout can help to lower your heart rate gradually following an intense workout as well as reduce tension in the muscles, per Healthline

Kate Lemere, an instructor at popular workout studio Barry's Bootcamp, stresses the importance of stretching after a workout for maximum benefit and recovery, telling Byrdie, "A dynamic stretch will help improve flexibility and therefore your range of motion into your joints, which in turn will help keep you injury-free while you recover faster," she says of a good stretch.

Following your stretch, experts agree that a massage has tons of post-workout benefits. This is because lactic acid can build up in your muscles during a workout and cause pain, and a massage will aid in relieving that pain. While you might not be able to swing a trip to a professional massage therapist after every trip to the gym, you can get the same benefits from using foam rollers or even a tennis ball.

What you put in your body post-workout matters

Hydration is always a healthy choice, but it's even more important when you're exercising regularly. According to Healthy Women, properly hydrating following a workout can help with the recovery process and decrease your risk of muscle soreness. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends weighing yourself before and after a workout and having 2-3 cups of water for every lost pound because any weight lost immediately following a workout will be water weight.

Hydration is key, but proper food intake is important, too. Within the 45 minutes following your workout, Healthline recommends a healthy combination of carbs and protein to replenish nutrients and help your muscles recover. A healthy combination of pita and hummus, cheese and deli meat, or nuts and fruit are all great options following a good sweat.

In addition to these steps, a cold shower can reduce muscle soreness, per Healthline. And getting plenty of rest will do your body good after a workout, too. It can be intimidating to get into a new routine, but proper care can make it easier on your mind and body.