How to Ensure You Can Workout Consistently
Fitness is a necessary component of health.
If you’re not somewhat fit, there’s a good chance your life expectancy will be shorter than it could be and there’s an even better chance your quality of life will suffer.
Part of the reason I got into medicine was that I realized that the fitness I achieved playing soccer for years would pay dividends in the quality of my life.
I knew that my fitness would make me a better doctor, a better spouse (though I wasn’t married when I realized this), as well as a better citizen of the world.
Yes, fitness is that important.
So what is it about working out that’s a game changer for your health?
It’s hard for me to fit into a small article, let alone a paragraph.
However, I can tell you this much, fitness can help you if you want to have better blood sugar control, better weight management, stronger bones, more lean body mass, enhanced brain function, superior gene expression, improved cardiovascular health, and much, much more.
And of course, working out also releases many of the endorphins that make us feel happier and more optimistic about life.
So if all of this is true, then why don’t more people work out more often?
Working Out Can Hurt – Here’s How to Make Sure It Doesn’t Hurt For Long
Regular exercise, especially more intensive exercise, can leave us in a fair bit of pain.
Part of this has to do with what happens during intense exercise.
When we work out, whether that’s running or lifting weights, we subject our muscles and tendons, and joints to impact, stretching and strain.
That process is good, as it breaks them down so they can rebuild stronger…
And yet, the pain associated with all of these benefits can sometimes drive people away from exercise.
Being sore isn’t fun, and being sore can be debilitating.
For many people having tendons and ligaments that feel stretched and muscles that feel bruised may derail them from working out entirely.
So what I’d like to do today is offer you simple and practical tips you can use daily or weekly that will help you feel better and continue working out for years to come.
Muscle Recovery Tip #1: Eat Tons Of Protein
Ok, I’m not suggesting you eat an actual ton of protein…
But you should eat way more than you think you should.
If you’ll refer back to my article on protein intake, this macronutrient may be one of the most important nutrients in the human diet, period.
When it comes to muscle recovery, high-protein intake is a game changer. Protein helps form your muscles, and if you’re breaking them down through exercise, the more protein you eat the quicker they can recover.
It’s commonly recommended to eat 0.5 grams for every pound you weigh, but depending on your goals, a gram per pound or more is advisable.
Muscle Recovery Tip #2: Perform Compound Movements
One of the main ways that people mess up their training is by focusing on one area of their body, and generally a smaller one, to get fit.
What you want to do instead is work your largest muscle groups, (legs, back, chest shoulders). Not only can this increase the intensity of your workout it also allows for the release of more human growth hormone and testosterone (yes, this is OK for women) which facilitates faster recovery.
Muscle Recovery Tip #3: Eat and Drink the Right Things
You are what you eat. And if you want to be healthy and recover well you need to eat anti-inflammatory foods so your muscles recover faster.
Ideally, you want to consume omega-3 fatty acids from animal-based foods. Omega-3s help generate increased blood flow and also activate immune responses to inflammation that can arise from working out. Fruits that have antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals can also help reduce inflammation.
And of course, you want to drink water and make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes which are essential for muscle function.
Lastly, you’ll want to reduce the intake of inflammatory foods and beverages. Think sugar, seed oils, alcohol, and the like. None of these are good for muscle recovery and can make you more sore!
Muscle Recovery Tip #4: Participate in “Active Recovery:
This is a game changer for fitness.
“Active recovery” is a way to get some kind of fitness-oriented movement in without pushing hard. So if you’re sore, you can still move and derive some benefit, but not be in so much pain you can’t execute your goals.
Active recovery can be something like yoga, walking, cycling, or other anaerobic activities.
Better yet, active recovery removes lactate and hydrogen from muscles and boosts circulation, so it may have benefits for reducing muscle soreness too.
Muscle Recovery Tip #5: Stretch, Foam Roll, or Massage
One of the best things you can do for your muscles is engage in post-fitness exercises that keep muscles loose and limber.
Stretching ensures that muscles return to their natural length (as they shorten after hard work), and don’t remain contracted and stiff.
Foam rolling and massage push blood into muscle tissue as well as help to clear out lactate (which is what makes muscles feel stiff).
And massages of various kinds can help too. A meta-analysis reported that “massage seems to be the most effective method for reducing DOMS and perceived fatigue.”
Bottom Line: You Need to Exercise
The truth of the matter is you need to exercise for better health, I don’t feel bad saying that.
If you can’t because of a doctor’s recommendation, I won’t argue against that, but the rest of us all need to exercise so we can stay fit and stay well.
This is why I suggest you incorporate some of these recovery tips into your daily regimen.