6 Best Tips for Recovering Faster from Exercise.

Hey Davey,

I live in NYC and often go for 2-5 mile runs in Central Park. My only problem is that I’ll feel sore for at least 2 days. What is the best way to a quicker recovery?

Thanks,
John

Hey John,

First things first, a little soreness is a good (and generally unavoidable) thing. Delayed onset soreness, like what you’re experiencing, is perfectly fine, healthy and normal. If you are immediately sore, it means you have injured yourself – and that’s a whole different cup of tea.

New research shows that conditioned athletes recover faster, so one of the best things you can do is challenge yourself with a hard, heart-pumping workout. As your current fitness level increases, your recovery time tends to decrease. It’s a great long-term strategy.

Having said that, there are some things you can try that may help you recover a bit faster. They include:

  1. Warming-up. Our muscles need to be warmed up before they engage in exercise, otherwise the risk for strains, injuries and the like increases. Cold taffy breaks, but warm taffy stretches. Our muscles are the same way. A warm up need not be overly time consuming, but spend a few minutes getting your muscles ready for your workout. Before running in central park, for example, do a three minute jog.
  2. Cooling-down. Following your run in Central Park, dedicate 3 – 5 minutes to cooling down. Jogging at a gentle pace will remove some of the lactic acid from your system and help prevent stiffness.
  3. Drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated will help flush out toxins and aid in muscle recovery.
  4. Getting your post workout protein and carbs. We know that in addition to protein, it’s important to consume some post-workout carbohydrates. Doing so will help rebuild and repair you muscles, and studies have shown that it also reduces soreness.
  5. Resting! Your muscles rebuild and repair more during sleep than when you’re awake. Levels of HGH increase during sleep, so make sure you’re getting your full 6 – 8 hours.
  6. Try a cold/hot shower or massage. Some people report that a post-workout hot or cold shower can help reduce soreness and decrease recovery time. In addition, some people believe that a sports massage will help decrease recovery time, though more research is needed. It was speculated that a sports massage would help remove lactic acid, but this has been disproved by science.

You’ll notice that stretching is missing from the list. Though we’ve all been told (myself included!) that stretching helps prevent and reduce soreness, some very surprising research is proving otherwise. If stretching does have a preventative effect on soreness, it is very small. And while it may help temporarily relieve some post-workout soreness, the relief is short-lived. Stretching is great – and it may boost your performance – but its effects on recovery appear quite minimal.

In a nutshell, these six tips may help improve your recovery to some degree – but really, muscle soreness comes with the territory. On days when your legs are sore from running, do some strength training exercises involving other parts of your body – like your arms, back, shoulders, or core. Use those “sore” days as opportunities to train other muscles.

Moreover, switch up your runs. Instead of running for five miles at one pace, do 15 minutes of interval training where you jog for 90 seconds and then sprint for 60. Your body will react differently to the different workouts.

Hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. Don’t you mean HGH? :-p

    • haha, yes. GHG = Greenhouse gas… HGH = growth hormone. Too much time spent working for environmental nonprofit organizations, perhaps! đŸ˜› I just made the fix in the post… thank you!

  2. The studies you cite on stretching are not definitive and many experts disagree. It has been my experience that REGULAR post-workout static stretching, done properly, does lead to a reduction in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

  3. dear davey,

    i live in Germany and the thing is:
    I have to work in the week and can´t see your live blog. in the block, a day later, i see only 30 min. of it .
    what i have to do to see the hole show…

    Greetings from uncut country

    André