What to do after exercise

Date: 27th January 2017
Author: Mr B Bonthuys

The following day after a great class, some students often tell me how at times their legs are aching, their muscles feel stiff, sore and tight. I know exactly how this feels and it's not a great experience trying to walk up the stairs without the leg muscles crying out for help! So how do we stop these pains from continuing to happen? The answer is easy, in my experience the best way to prevent these aches and pains is to "cool down" the body through a formulated method after every time we train and to "re-nourish" our body. So what's the formula? Here's a few tips of how to get started:

A cool down and a cool down done right

Cooling down after martial arts exercise
Cooling down after martial arts exercise

For example when running on a Treadmill, there’s a good reason why there’s a big button that has “cool down” written on it and we need to remember this button for every time we do exercise! When you’re exercising at an intense level, your heart rate and muscles are working extremely hard. For most people when pushing themselves, this correlates to an intensity scale of lets say, 9 out of 10 and your body needs help getting back down gently to a score of 1 out of 10. This must also be done at an ease - bringing us back to normality!

After finishing an intense training session, this is when we need to allow our heart rate to gently ease by gradually reducing our intensity, continuing with that exercise for a little longer, but at a light, less intense rate and not making a sudden stop - this is where the magic happens to stop those later aches and pains just hours after! By applying this method, it helps to prevent lactic acid build up, dizziness after a sudden stop in exercise and even blood pooling. Stretching the worked muscles after finishing exercise is also a great help as your muscles are fully warm, which means they’re more elastic and pliable, so you can oxygenate those worked areas to prevent muscles becoming stiff! This is also a great opportunity to improve your flexibility - hurrah! Stretching after exercise not only tests how far your muscles can be stretched when warm, but by practicing this method every time, you’re also going to improve your next training performance - if the muscles can stretch further and work more easily, you will be able to up your game again the next time your train! This is a great formula that really works for me and I practice every time!

Re-nourish your body

A balanced diet for martial arts training
A balanced diet for martial arts training

In the same way a Ferrari will run on only the best fuel for the engine, we also need to satisfy our own body’s needs, to feel good after exercise, maintain healthy energy levels, become more active and be ready to face the day! Our own supplies consists of hydration and food types:

Hydration: Natural still water; consistently throughout the day to replenish lost water levels and help recovery.

Food: Protein rich foods such as poultry, fish, and nuts to promote muscle fibre recruitment, rest and recover from your workout. Carbohydrates are also important to re-energize our body such as rice, pasta, potatoes, as example of many; this will keep your body fuelled for the rest of the day and ready to come back stronger for the next workout!

This formula together works hand in hand, and to train at your best, it’s important to treat your body the best way you can! If you haven’t yet tried this, I highly recommend you do! Wishing you all the best on the future of your training.

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