There’s no better feeling than completing a workout. Not only do you feel accomplished, but your body feels fantastic—for the moment, that is. Statistically speaking, most people hop off their spin bike and head straight to work with maybe a quick calf stretch in between. But properly tending to your body’s needs after your sweat session is essential to prevent discomfort or an injury that could sideline you for weeks.
Given the current state of our country, many people are shying away from group fitness and turning to home workouts (see our guide to the (best fitness apps) and outdoor options, like running. But regardless of how or where you exercise, recovery is key to getting back at it the next day. Here’s a look at the new wellness trends devoted to fitness recovery.
While stretching is not a new concept, it’s the importance of stretching and the impact it has on your body that’s all the buzz. It’s so easy to finish a run and step straight into the shower, but stretching (even for a quick 5 minutes) is essential for so many reasons. Consider this: when you walk away from a workout and don’t stretch, your muscles stay tight or in a “clenched” position. Over time, you'll become less flexible (and can’t quite reach the pen that fell on the floor). Stretching increases your flexibility, which is how you maintain your range of motion and prevent injury. Stretching also helps improve posture. What’s more, stretching has a calming effect on the entire body. It refreshes the blood flow throughout your body as well as releases tension—something we could all use right now.
Immersing your entire body in a chamber of subzero temperatures is another recovery concept creating a lot of buzz. It’s called cryotherapy (or cold therapy) and it’s the new spin on icing your muscles. How it works: walk-in chambers are filled with dry, cold air (the typical temperature is below -100 degrees Celsius) and you sit for 2 to 4 minutes. The reported benefits of cryotherapy include reduced muscle pain and soreness, increased athletic performance and energy, improved joint function, not to mention decreased swelling and younger looking skin.
If an ice cold chamber doesn’t sound appealing, there’s always the opposite—heat therapy. The newest way to sweat is with an infrared sauna session. The difference between an infrared sauna and a regular sauna is the infrared lamps penetrate and heat up your body rather than heating up the air. In addition, the temperature in an infrared sauna is generally more tolerable than the extreme heat in a regular sauna. This allows you to stay in the sauna longer, which increases your core body temperature. Infrared saunas are thought to provide relief to sore muscles and joint pain, as well as improve circulation and even clear and tighten the skin. Typically, sauna sessions are private (meaning you’re the only one in the sauna). But for peace of mind, you can sweat it out at home with an infrared sauna blanket (our favorite is from HigherDOSE) or pod.
If you’re looking for post-workout recovery without having to leave the house, a topical CBD treatment is the way to go. One of the best ways to target post-workout discomfort is with a CBD-infused rub or lotion. Applying right after a workout is your best bet to stave off discomfort and get your body ready for tomorrow’s sweat session.