What you do before and after your workout is as important, if not more important than the workout itself. Before you exercise, it’s important to warm up by stretching and raising your heart rate slowly — this will help to avoid injury. After exercising, cool down and stretch again. This will help reduce soreness caused by lactic acid build-up in your muscles.
Here are some quick tips to consider before and after your workout:
- Warm Up (Before) – For those who work out in the morning, consider waking up 15 minutes early to give yourself time for a proper warm up. If you exercise at night, set aside time before you head out for a quick warm-up routine. Even a 5-10 minute walk or jog followed by light stretching can make all the difference in a safe and effective workout.
- Eat a snack or meal with carbs + protein. A carb-filled snack or meal before your workout will give you energy to keep going strong, plus it will replenish your glycogen stores if you’re working out for more than 60 minutes. In addition, adding a source of protein to your pre-workout meal will help build and repair muscle cells that get damaged during exercise.
- Hydrate! Drinking water before, during and after your workout is important for preventing dehydration and keeping your body functioning at its best. How much water should you drink? It depends on your weight, height, age and gender. Check out this hydration calculator to find out how much water you should be drinking each day based on all of these factors.
- Cool Down (After) – If you have time for a full cool down routine, that’s great! Consider walking for 5 minutes after your run or walk to lower your heart rate slowly or stretch on an exercise mat for 10 minutes to really get the most out of your cool down routine. Those short on time can use the same warm-up stretches they did initially as their cool down stretches.