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Recovery after exercise

Recovery after exercise

Bounce back faster with these simple post-workout steps.

Optimising your recovery following exercise helps with your progress. If you can bounce back faster, you’re more likely to stick to your programme and keep making steps forward. Here’s how:

  • Prioritise nutrition: What you eat and drink following exercise can aid your ability to improve your recovery.
  • Warming down: After exercise, do something that’s at a lower intensity, such as walking and mobility exercises.
  • Try ironing out creases and realigning your posture through stretching, foam rolling or using a hard ball as a form of self-massage – and torture!
  • Use water: Recover with a cold bath, an ice bath or even jump in the sea to soothe sore muscles. But be aware some research shows this may slow muscle development.
  • Feet up!
  • Sleep is essential to survival and if we’re prioritising our health by doing exercise, we should add quality sleep into the equation. There’s a lot to be said for a dark, quiet and cool room to promote restful sleep.

Side plank knee lifts

1. Lying on your right side, bend your knees and tuck your right arm underneath you so your trunk is off the ground. Your right elbow should be directly below your right shoulder. Rest your left hand on your left hip as a balance support throughout the exercise.

2. Straighten your legs so you form a side plank. You want your body to be in a straight line, so engage your lower abdominals by slightly drawing your belly button in towards your spine.

3. Maintaining your balance with your weight through your right arm and right foot, bring your top (left) leg up towards your chest. Only take it as far as you can maintain your form.

4. Lower your left leg back down, returning to side plank position in a controlled manner.

5. Take your pelvis back down to the ground, bending your knees to do so. Repeat exercise on your left side.

Alternative exercise: Sitting side ups

1. Sitting on the ground with your legs stacked to your left, use your right arm as a support and a prop throughout the exercise. Your hand should be underneath your right shoulder. Your knees are slightly forward of your body and in line with your right hand.

2. Push down on your right hand and lower your legs as you lift your pelvis off the ground. Avoid overextending and simply move to a level that suits your current range of strength. Gradually, you should be able to go higher.

3. Lower back down to the ground in a controlled manner. Repeat exercise on your left side.

First published: Apr 2018

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