The perfect post-gym routine is easier said than done, and you're left wondering what to do after a workout. However, how you handle those 30 minutes immediately following a sweat session is just as important as the workout. Since it's impossible to snack, stretch, and shower all at once, here is expert advice on what to do after a workout.
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Stretch and roll
Step 1 of your 'what to do after a workout' agenda: stretch while your muscles are still warm.
Jordan D. Metzl, M.D., a doctor of sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City says:
You need to stretch before the muscles have time to cool down, which takes 30-40 minutes
When the muscle cools, it contracts, and if you try to loosen it up, you can cause injury
Metzl recommends at least five minutes of stretching after a workout followed by five minutes of ironing out the kinks with a foam roller for proper recovery. He concludes:
Ten minutes total is realistic for most people.
Shower after workout and change clothes
Next up on the list of what to do after a workout: ditch your dirty sports top and joggers. Should you shower after working out? If you're able to, it's a good idea to hop in. Deirdre Hooper, M.D., a dermatologist at Audubon Dermatology in New Orleans, LA, previously told Shape:
All that sweat from your workout will cause bacteria and yeast build up, so if you don't shower, you don't rinse those bugs off and may have an increased risk of irritation and infection
However, all is not lost if you can't shower after exercise. Neal Schultz, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City and the founder of BeautyRx Skincare says:
If you can't wash, get out of wet clothes as soon as you can.
They trap moisture that encourages the growth of germs, bacteria, fungus, and yeast, which could invite a skin infection or cause breakouts.
Refuel for recovery
Last but certainly not least on your post-workout plan—make sure to take in some food within 30 minutes. Mitzi Dulan, R.D., author of The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin says:
That will optimize recovery, help reduce muscle soreness, and help you perform better during your workout the following day. The 30-minute window is the peak time for potential to start rebuilding and replenishing muscles.