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Reduce your recovery time after workouts with these tips

Every sport, from football to baseball and hockey, is physically demanding on the human body. In order to protect yourself from injury and perform at peak levels, you have to spend a lot of time at the gym building strength and endurance. However, one of the biggest setbacks athletes experience after hard exercise is muscle soreness. This might prevent you from staying with a workout routine and limit your performance on the field. Try out a few of these recovery tips designed to get you in the gym consistently:

Improve tissue quality
When you train a muscle group, your fibers experience mini tears called microtrauma​s. During the recovery process, the muscle tissue heals and becomes stronger and more resilient. You can speed up the natural process by actively stimulating the sore area. Try foam rolling and stretching to improve muscle elasticity and relieve some of the stiffness. Increasing elasticity and reducing stiffness is important to recovery because of the strain you put on your muscles. When you lift heavy weights, you are constantly shortening your muscle fibers. Without applying an opposing force to the tissue, you will become more and more stiff and will need extra time to recover.

Consume plenty of protein
Protein is to muscles what spinach is to Popeye. It helps muscles recover from the microtrauma and is essential to muscle growth in general. Consider consuming a protein heavy snack before you go to bed to initiate muscle repair and fuel the process throughout the night. When you wake up, your body will have gone through all of that fuel, so recharge your muscles again by packing your breakfast full of healthy (lean) protein.

Integrate light cardio into your everyday workout
Any exercise that gets your heart rate above normal, including cycling, jogging and swimming, helps flush out lingering lactic acid. Lactic acid buildup is what causes the sensation of burning in your muscles when you are in the middle of a heavy workout. Light cardio exercise pumps oxygen-rich blood to your muscles and improves circulation, which in turn allows muscles to absorb nutrients essential to recovery.

Maintain a regular sleep schedule
When you are in the middle of a three-month training regimen while juggling kids and a full-time job, you might find it hard to get enough sleep. But in order remain consistent with your workout, you need to get your eight hours of rest. Lack of sleep can raise your cortisol (hormones related to stress) levels while simultaneously lowering your testosterone and human growth hormone production.

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