Developing a stable exercise routine is something you should feel proud of. There’s nothing quite like hitting the gym or pounding the pavement after a long and stressful day at work or watching your kids. Exercise is a core component of a healthy life, and whether you are a gym rat or can barely manage to complete 15 minutes of exercise every few days, choosing to move is empowering. Recovery is just as much a part of the process as exercise. Here are six tips to help you recover after a workout. 

1. Treat Your Muscles to Natural Remedies

While working out, your mood and energy levels will rise to new heights. But the muscle soreness that can follow can be a real buzzkill. It can even make it difficult to go about your daily tasks if you’re in pain following a workout. There are many natural ways you can help your muscles recover, including eating a banana to increase potassium, applying hot and cold pads to reduce swelling, and using lavender, ginger, or eucalyptus Young Living Essential Oils to increase circulation. 

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate 

Hydration is probably the most important step in post-workout recovery. If you exercise in the middle of a workday or go on a full-day hike on a weekend, you may find yourself low on fluids after a hard workout. It’s critical to plan ahead and carry extra sources of water and rehydration salts or sports drinks when necessary. 

Even if you work out less frequently or less intensely, you can’t skip out on staying hydrated. If you go on a morning walk before work, make sure to refill your water bottle multiple times a day and drink up. Being fully hydrated will always help you see better results from your physical activities. 

3. Eat the Right Nutrients 

If you’re on a calorie-restricted or food group-restricted diet, it can be hard to get all the nutrients you need to recover from a tough workout. For example, celebrity dieticians and trainers make carbohydrates out to be the villains of the food pyramid, but after a strenuous workout, your body needs carbs at that moment.

Your body digests carbohydrates quickly, which means foods of that nature get broken down and turned into energy faster than other foods. Even if you don’t eat carbs regularly, you may want to think about balancing your post-workout nutrition to help you recover more efficiently. 

4. Continue Gentle Movements

Exercise can be exhausting, but if you stop moving altogether, you run the risk of making your muscles lock up or getting a cramp. Part of your post-workout recovery routine should include gentle movements such as going for a walk and restorative yoga and other stretches. 

5. Nap When You Need To

When working out in the morning, you will probably feel more energetic for a part of the day. If you start to lag or slow down in the second half of the day, don’t push through. Take a nap when you need to, even if it’s just for 15 to 20 minutes. By taking the chance to rest your body, you can give your muscles time to recover, which will help you see the results of your exercise that much faster. 

6. Scale Back Your Training Periodically

If you’re like most other people, you’re probably working out with an end goal in mind. Whether you are training for a marathon or trying to beat your best-ever deadlift, you can’t keep up a hardcore pace all the time. You will notice that it takes longer and longer to recover from your regular workouts. This is a sign that you need to scale back the intensity of your exercise. 

You don’t have to take a break from exercise completely, but you can do so if it feels right. If not, you can simply reduce the weights you use in the gym or reduce the speed or distance of your runs. Try scaling back for three days before returning to your regular intensity. You should notice a vast improvement in recovery time. 

Regardless of what you do, any exercise is good exercise. Use these tips to help you have a positive experience next time you decide to workout.