Saturday, September 23, 2017

Post-Workout Behavior, Why It Matters

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Do wonders for your workout. Follow these after-exercise tips …

Often, we feed the “fitness meter” its daily investment only to exit the Center and overcompensate for our healthy activity. Suddenly, we may feel entitled to eat that cheeseburger and fries, followed up with a couple hours on the couch watching mindless TV.

Use your post-workout actions to enhance your fitness efforts. A healthy lifestyle goes beyond a daily exercise session. Follow these tips to maximize your fitness efforts:

Eat Well

Kiwi (aids digestion) and pineapple (anti-inflammatory properties) are two helpful post-workout fruits.
Kiwi (aids digestion) and pineapple (acts as anti-inflammatory) are two helpful post-workout fruits.

An intense workout does not justify a junk-food binge or even a big meal. We often assume we burned more calories than we actually did. An effective solution: Focus less on food’s calories and more on how much activity it actually takes to burn off that food.

For example, a popular fast-food grilled chicken ranch BLT sandwich (approximately 440 calories) would take a 154-pound, 5’10” male about an hour of weightlifting to burn off. One post-workout indulgence can cancel the benefits of an entire fitness session.

After your workout, keep the healthy vibe going with a nutritious snack or meal packed with the protein and carbs needed to replace essential nutrients used during exercise. Smart post-workout food choices also help the body recover better from the physical exertion expended—and increase your fitness success.

Rehydrate

Replenish.
Replenish.

Water consumption is essential before, during, and after a workout. Experts suggest drinking 24 ounces of fluid for each pound lost during exercise. This can be determined by weighing yourself before and after a workout.

Drink beyond your thirst. Thirst is not always an accurate indicator of hydration. Monitor urine frequency and color to assure you are consuming enough fluids. After an intense or lengthy workout, consider a sports drink to replenish lost electrolytes as well.

Stretch

Your future self will thank you a thousand times for stretching regularly, especially after exercise. Those who skip this essential part of their workout, including young athletes, live to regret it. The negative effects appear in joints and muscles later in life, causing everything from decreased range-of-motion to chronic aches.

Schedule 10 to 15 minutes at the end of your workout to complete a full-body stretch. Muscles will be warm and flexible then, allowing for easy, deep stretching. This post-workout habit helps prevent injuries, and maintains healthy joints and muscles. It also acts as an overall cooldown for the body, which helps the heart and circulatory system transition.

Keep Moving

water play, pic
Joyful movement!

How we spend time beyond the workout has a significant impact on health and weight loss goals. Research continues to reveal the importance of movement throughout the day. Physical activity helps burn calories and improve overall health. Formal fitness is a positive and essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Yet, the benefits can be negated by sedentary habits the rest of the day.

Regular exercise definitely improves your health. However, avid exercisers can unintentionally increase their risk for heart disease, obesity, and other health issues by how they spend the rest of their waking hours. By staying mobile, you improve your health and continue to burn a bunch of calories beyond what you accomplish at the Center. Easy, ongoing movement also helps keep joints and muscles flexible.

Don’t sabotage your workout efforts. Complement them! Follow through fitness with the healthy habits your body deserves.

Sources

“5 Mistakes We Make after Exercise,” by Malia Frey at verywell.com.

“What Kind of Workout Will Your Fast Food Require?” by Lorie A. Parch at Takepart.com.

Image Credits

Fruit salad: pixabay.com/en/apple-colorful-dessert-diet-food-17092

Water & lemon: pixabay.com/en/water-lemon-drink-refreshment-1187656

Water play: pixabay.com/en/water-fight-children-water-play-442257

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