You already know how important it is to get regular exercise. Heck, even walking around the block once a day is better than nothing at all. Even better, though, is making sure to get at least twenty minutes of aerobic exercise (that’s the kind that gets your heart pumping and blood really flowing) at least three times a week.
Exercising regularly isn’t just important for your physical health. It can also have a tremendous effect on your mental and emotional health as well. But you know this. You know how important it is. That’s why you reupped your gym membership, bought a super cute new workout outfit and have put together a rockin’ workout mix. What you might not know is how to keep that “endorphin high” that you get from a good workout throughout the day.
Here are some things that you need to do to make sure that you keep those good feelings going.
Showering at the gym is awkward and uncomfortable for most of us, but trust us when we tell you: you need to shower immediately. Even if you hate the idea of showering with a bunch of other women, a’la high school gym class or poorly designed college dorm bathroom, at least rinse yourself off thoroughly before you change into your street clothing. Then go home and take a proper shower.
Showering helps you flush the sweat off of your body before it has a chance to clog up your pores and cause skin problems. It also helps prevent workout funk from infiltrating your street clothing. A hot shower is also great for relaxing the muscles that might have gotten tense or strained during your workout. It helps you relax while allowing the endorphins to really set in. Feeling clean is just as important for your mood as getting a good sweat on during spin class.
Wear Cute Clothing
One of the most difficult things to do after working out is change into clothes that feel drab or boring. Even if you’re a “gym before work” type, try to step up your work attire so that you will look as good as you feel. Dressing the part goes a long way toward tricking your brain into feeling better about whatever it is that you’re dealing with that day. So put on that cute (but work appropriate) dress or suit. Slip on those high heels.
Quick Note: Many women find that wearing certain types of clothing after a workout helps with their physical healing process. Knee braces, wrist wraps, compression gear–it’s all great for restoring blood flow and helping you heal properly after you’ve put your body through the wringer. Just remember: physical therapy gear like braces and compression clothing don’t have to be drab or boring! Therafirm, for example, makes compression socks and tights that could pass for high end fashion intimates. Braces come in different colors, patterns and fabrics now.
Eat and Drink Something
Did you know that you lose almost a quart of fluid per hour of your workout? That’s even when youh try to hydrate properly during your workout routine. The first thing that you should do, then, when you’re heading for the locker room after your cool down, is swig some water. You don’t have to gulp it; that might hurt your stomach, but try to drink at least 16-20 ounces as soon as possible. It will help speed up the recovery process.
To that end, you should also put some food in your body. Don’t just stuff whatever you find into your face, though! You need to put together a healthy snack or meal of lean proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. A light stir fry with some lean meat in it, for example, is a great post-workout meal. You could also go for a smoothie or protein shake. Don’t worry about the calories, just make sure that you’re putting healthy nutrients into your body. This will help you keep your energy up once the post workout snoozes start to set in.
It is just as important to take care of your body and treat it well after a workout as it is leading up to and during your exercise routine. When you take care of your body properly after you finish working out, you elevate your mood and energy levels and make that endorphin rush much easier to sustain.