Every Thursday, Svveat Stories tackles your most pressing fitness questions—this week, yoga teacher Christine Noonan is back for round two, telling us how to speed up recovery after a particularly intense workout.

Last night I tried the Get Sweaty Bosu class at Misfit Studio for the first time—and yes, it’s exactly as strange and wonderful as it sounds—and today I can barely walk. My calves have completely seized up. Stairs  are out of the question. I know you said last week that I could have prevented this, and yet here I am. Please tell me I’m not beyond help.
— Cardio Is Hardio

Photo courtesy Nike Toronto

Help is on the way, Cardio Is Hardio!

To be fair, I don’t know if any precautionary measures could have prepared your calves for this. An entire class on a Bosu is definitely out of the ordinary. Here are some tips to speed up recovery after a workout that leaves you abnormally sore.

1.      Move, stretch and roll.

Kelly Taphouse of MOVE Fitness Club recommends keeping moving after a workout to flush lactic acid from the body. Even walking will help rid the body of these post-workout toxins. As for stretching, choose from traditional stretches that will counter-balance your workout. Try foam rolling or using a tennis or lacrosse ball to loosen up targeted muscles groups. Just be sure to spend at least five to 10 minutes stretching immediately following your workout. If your schedule is tight, you can add in additional stretching later in the day. Ball or foam rolling can be done while getting caught up on your favourite TV show in the comfort of your own home.

2.     Replenish the body with food and drink.

We need to replenish the body’s fuel within 30 to 60 minutes of finishing a workout. Choose foods that will keep your body running efficiently, making sure to include protein and adding in a complex carbohydrate. If you’ve sweat a ton, you might want to drink something that will balance your electrolytes. My simplest solution is water with the juice of half a lemon and a few pinches of salt.

Photo by Catherine LaVallee

3.     Take a bath.

While there is still some debate about exactly how Epsom salts work to rid the body of muscle waste, many of us find great relief from them. You can also add essential oils to your bath and harness their healing properties to further aid your recovery. My fellow yoga teacher and workout enthusiast Catherine LaVallee swears by the Aprés Sport Soothing Bath Salt Soak and the Muscle Melt Comforting Body Butter from Saje Natural Wellness after any intense workout.

4.     Listen to your body.

Pay attention to what your body is craving. Of course, I would recommend yoga; it might be yin to get a deep stretch, restorative to give the body a chance to rest and recover, hatha or flow. And if your body is in need of rest, be sure to listen to it and honour that too. It can sometimes take longer than expected for your muscles to recover. However, if you feel something more than muscle soreness, like any sharp, pinching pains, you might want to consult your doctor.
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5.      Smile.

No matter how sore you are, crack a smile and laugh it off. The fact that you’re continuing to push your body and brain is an amazing thing!

If you’re showing up for workouts that are pushing your physical and mental boundaries, I hope some of the above tips help ease the pain and lessen the downtime before you’re back at it again. Stay strong. You’ve got this.

Follow Christine on Instagram @ChristineNoonanYoga to find out where she’s teaching next.

Have a fitness question you’d like us to answer? Email us at stories@svveat.com or ask us in the comments below.

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