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No time to hit the mat area for a post-workout stretch? Here’s what to do after exercise if you’re too busy for a full-on recovery session  ...




No time to hit the mat area for a post-workout stretch? Here’s what to do after exercise if you’re too busy for a full-on recovery session 

Rest and recovery are an important part of any exercise programme, but let’s face it, there’s not always the time for a lengthy stretch session. If you often find yourself foregoing foam rolling because you’ve got to rush off somewhere, you need a way to maximise your workout recovery that doesn’t require a huge time investment. Good news! We’ve tapped the pros for their speedy recovery methods, so you can squeeze in a workout and enjoy a little less soreness afterwards, too. Hooray! 


Topical magnesium often goes under the radar as a great way to support muscle recovery. Levels of magnesium drop rapidly during exercise, as it is an electrolyte used for muscle contraction and is lost when we sweat. Magnesium plays a key role in our body’s ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), so we need it to sustain energy. Lactic acid build-up can also be caused by low levels of cellular magnesium, which can lead to muscle soreness and cramping, plus magnesium supports getting a good night’s sleep.


You’ve probably tried a massage gun (a handheld device that sends targeted pulses of pressure to muscle tissue to ease aches and stiffness), but its recommendable investing in a PowerDot, a powerful electrical muscle stimulator from Therabody that uses neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to recharge recovery. It gives different recovery modalities and can even integrate with Strava to help you understand what you’ve worked hard on.


What could be easier than putting on a pair of leggings to power-up your recovery after a workout? The CEP Recovery Pro Tights, extend to the foot and use compression technology to boost circulation to hard-worked muscles (helping the body get rid of waste products and repairing muscles quicker). Putting on a pair of compression socks, tights or leggings after a hard session is such an easy way to aid the recovery process. Go to any big sporting competition and you will see athletes walking around in compression clothing. Even if they aren’t sure why the tech works, experience tells them their muscles feel better as a result.


If you’ve slotted in a workout around a busy working day, often it’s easy to skip a stretch so you can get to your inbox as soon as possible. A great solution is to carve out a five-minute mid-morning or afternoon break, using your chair as a stretching prop. You can do some brilliant shoulder extension and spinal rotation with zero faff, or try opening up your hips and glutes in an elevated pigeon. Try this:

1. Stand and face the chair base. 

2. Bend your right knee into your chest and place it horizontally across the base of the chair. Your knee should be roughly in line with your foot.

3. Your other leg should be extended behind you.

4. Lean forward slightly if you want to intensify this stretch. 

5. Hold for 60 secs on each side.


No matter how little time you have to dedicate to recovery, a smart refuelling strategy is crucial. But that doesn’t have to mean chugging back protein shakes. Unless you train multiple times per day or very intensely across the week, it will likely be more important to focus on your diet as a whole. A wellbalanced meal or snack with good-quality protein and carbs, combined with a source of healthy fat, within a couple of hours of your session will do the trick. Try a homemade shake or hummus and rice cakes to bridge the gap before your next meal, or an omelette with avocado, spinach and tomato, or chicken breast with steamed vegetables and wholegrain noodles as a post-workout meal.


Make a rehydrating after intense exercise a priority to help optimise her recovery. Always be make sure to drink tons of water and electrolytes. Also drink tart cherry juice, which helps with recovery, after every workout.


Use the five minutes you have for stretching wisely by working on the areas that feel restricted and prioritising the muscles you’ve just worked out. Focusing directly on the muscles you’ve activated will help to increase blood flow to those muscle groups, which accelerates recovery and reduces any residual soreness. If you did a lower body workout, target your glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings. For a post-run stretch, target hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and lower back. For stretches that offer more bang for your buck, Skinner recommends the pigeon pose (works hip flexors, hamstrings, lower back and inner thighs) and downward dog (works hamstrings, hips, shoulders, spine and calves).


Infrared products – thermal products that encourage the vasodilation of blood vessels to boost blood flow and speed up the delivery of repair agents to tissues – are moving up the post-workout agenda. Indeed, GB Ironman triathlete Raya Hubbell swears by Kymira Infrared Compression Socks , which use both infrared and muscular compression technology to boost performance and accelerate recovery. ‘It’s part of my post-training routine now: I finish training, stretch and cool down, grab a protein shake, shower and then immediately put on Kymira products,’ she says. ‘Whether it be leggings, sleepwear, socks or running sleeves, I am reliant on my Kymira wardrobe and have noticed a significant reduction in running-related pain and DOMS.’