When it comes to physical activity, what you do before and after working out is important – from pre-workout stretching, to the type of food you consume. Below are some of the most crucial pre and post-workout tips to help you get the most out of your exercise routine.
Food & Drink
Having a healthy diet and consuming proper foods and beverages can improve your health in a number of different way – such as reduce the risk of diabetes, improve cholesterol levels, and help you lose weight… but did you know that what you eat and drink can also make a difference when it comes to your workout routine? Particularly if you’re wanting to increase your energy levels.
If you’re going to be engaging in high-impact exercise or training sessions, you’ll want to avoid consuming foods that are considered heavy or may take longer to break down in the stomach. Of course the obvious foods that you should stay away from include any foods that are fried or fatty, carbonated beverages, artificially flavoured drinks (as they often contain lots of sugar), as well as foods that are spicy. Foods that are high in fibre, while considered healthy, should also be avoided right before working out, as should nuts as they tend to have a higher fat content which means they can take longer for your stomach to digest. If you do want to have a light snack, health professionals recommend eating a banana at least 60 minutes prior to your workout. A banana provides your body with some of the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy, such as potassium, manganese, and carbohydrates – which improve endurance, help with muscle function, as well as help with bone development and wound healing. Following your workout, opt for a low-protein snack.
It’s also important to stay hydrated. When we workout and sweat, our bodies lose water, so it’s always a good idea to have some H2O on hand – and drinking water also benefits your health in many other ways, too, which you can read more about here.
People often choose to stretch before working out, which is fine, but it’s also a good idea to stretch after your workout, too. Stretching can help increase your range of motion and decrease any muscle/joint discomfort you might be feeling. It also helps to bring your body back down to a cool, resting position. Here you will find a list of different and easy post-workout stretches to try. For increased soreness or any inflammation, I also recommend taking cooler showers or using cold packs (sometimes alternating with heat) to help expedite the healing process.