Taking care of yourself after exercise

As our fitness increases, so does the load we put on our bodies, and often minds, as we are able to go further and faster during workouts. Although generally regarded as a gentle activity which increases strength and mobility (which is true) walks – especially longer walks – can take its toll on our feet and legs in particular. So how to you ensure you go into each new walk feeling fresh and ready to go? Make sure to properly recover by trying the following tips below. 

1. Post stretch exercise

If you feel you have pushed yourself on your walk, take 5 minutes directly after your exercise to stretch your muscles. This could involve bending your leg at the knee and lifting your foot to your bum (holding on to something for balance if need be!) or simply trying to touch your toes with straight legs. This will aid a faster recovery so your muscles won’t be likely to be so sore in the hours/days to follow. 

2. Soak in a salt bath 

Epsom bath salts help the body get rid of toxins responsible for exacerbating inflammation while also reducing swelling, stiffness, and pain. They are also brilliant for soothing the skin and exfoliating off any dead skin cells, which often build up on our feet due to friction when we walk. Tip a handful into the tub or simply take a foot bath after your walk, followed by moisturiser and maybe even a pair of fluffy socks! Your body will thank you.

3. Self-massage

You don’t have to be a masseuse to give yourself a quick foot massage. With clean feet and a dot of moisturiser, simply massage the balls of your feet with your thumb and forefinger, or anywhere else where you feel aches of discomfort. If you can ask somebody else for a quick foot rub, even better!

4. Don’t get chilled

You are more likely to experience muscle soreness and even cramp if you come in from a cold walk and don’t warm up. Particularly if you have sweated (which means your body will cool down rapidly when it stops moving) or your clothes are cold or worse – damp, it’s important to get warm by means of a shower, changing your clothes or having a hot drink. 

5. Replenish your energy stores

Consuming healthy, nutrient-rich food after a walk is a must to allow your muscle tissue to repair and get stronger. Skip processed, sugary foods and load up on leafy greens, lean protein like chicken, fish or even a post-workout protein shake. Of course, before eating your priority is to hydrate with water.