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Fitness, Train body and mind — March 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm

How to Decompress After an Intense Workout

Meditating Outside
Meditating Outside (Photo credit: RelaxingMusic)

There’s no better feeling than pushing through a seriously intense workout. You’re breaking down barriers you thought were impossible, watching all of your hard work in action and causing results. Congratulations are in order for busting through that plateau! But whether this is a new experience or a daily occurrence, chances are you’ll head home after the workout seriously amped up. That can be a great thing. The endorphins are flowing fast and furious, you’re focused and clear and ready to take on whatever life has in store for you. It’s a fantastic thing if you exercise in the morning, as you can take that intensity with you to dominate the day. But many people work out at night, either by necessity or preference, and then that intense energy can actually be a detriment. Here are a couple of tips to help you decompress after an intense workout.

First off, make sure you are giving yourself ample time to cool down. This is always useful, but is absolutely crucial after a particularly intense workout. Try to get in fifteen or twenty minutes of walking at an easy pace. If the weather is good do this outside, so you can take in the sites to further ease out of that high energy zone. Then either at the gym or at home you should work through a fifteen to thirty minute stretching routine. If you’re a fan of yoga you’ll know this bit quite well. But if not just take it slow and easy, and don’t push past your comfort zone. Focus on relaxing your breathing and slowing your heart rate. With a bit of practice you should be able to effectively unwind this way.

If you belong to a gym with some quality facilities, now is the time to use them to your advantage. Many people will go from their workout right into the spa. Spend ten minutes or so in the hot tub, which will relax your muscles, and then hit up a cold shower. A sauna can be a peaceful place for you as well. And if you have the time and the budget, schedule in regular appointments with a massage therapist. This is crucial for your building muscles, but will also help you relax and breathe through any intensity you are still hanging on to.

Sometimes the best solution is to do something social. Shower, change and head out to meet some friends. Have a drink or a light snack at your favorite happy hour spot, or meet other health-conscious friends at a smoothie bar to enjoy that post-workout protein shot. A lively conversation will take your mind off of your sore, vibrating muscles, especially if one of your friends has the potential to be a little bit more. This isn’t the best time for a date, but you never know when a casual conversation over a smoothie can turn into more. And that will certainly help you decompress.

Finally, create an environment at home that helps you decompress. When decorating, think about colors that are soothing, and a layout that keeps the energy flowing in the right direction. Try to avoid clutter, which will always add to stress, and bring soothing music into the picture. Check out meditationmusic.net if you need something really mellow, or just launch your favorite internet radio station set to an appropriate channel. An hour or two alone in a mellow house could end up being the only thing you really need.

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