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How to recover from a hard workout

  Different people running on a treadmill

Exercising is stressing your body.

Ferran Traite / Getty Images

Listen, all you weekend warriors, gymnasts and all the others who are vaguely interested in training or fitter. If you still fall prey to the attitude that pain increases, I have news for you. Scientists find that investing actively in recovery after exercise is as important, if not more important, than spending time at the gym. Fitness Technology is picking up on this trend and there are many promising products that will bring you state-of-the-art recovery techniques into your own home.

Read more: Heart rate tracking is the secret to getting fit. How to use it:

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High-tech fitness equipment for your home


Why is recovery important?

Your muscles do not really grow while you exercise; They grow while they rest between sessions. Exercise is essentially stress, and if you repeatedly strain your body, it will be better adapted to respond to the stimulus.

Exercising especially weightlifting and bodyweight exercises, creates micro-cracks in your muscles. If you do not give them enough time to heal, the tears will grow and your muscles will feel inflamed, swollen, and exhausted. If you do not give yourself enough recovery time, you may lose performance and even overtraining syndrome. Overtraining syndrome or OTS is ugly. It affects your immune system, makes you feel exhausted and causes chronic joint and muscle pain.

Regeneration is extremely important during the workout. Not only does it help you avoid all of these negative side effects, it also helps your muscles grow when these microcracks heal.

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If you're more into cardio, it's still true. Aerobic exercises, especially running, follow the same progressive overload principle as weight lifting. This is an original way of saying that the exercise programs are also designed to create an increasing workload for your body. Then you recover and your body adapts to better respond to this stress.

The specific adjustments depend on what specific exercises you do, but in layman's terms, we generally know the adaptation effect as "getting better shape." For example, if you run a lot, ride a bike, or exercise another aerobic activity, your VO2 maximum will increase. In essence, this means that your body can consume more oxygen during exercise, which increases endurance.

When you lift weights or exercise your body weight, the main adjustment is called muscle hypertrophy, which enlarges your muscles to make you stronger. The list of physical changes that your body makes after exercise is endless, but the point is that they all need time and rest to perform. Ergo, if you do not give yourself time to recover, you will not be so fit.

If athletes (and yes, you) can recover quickly, they can complete the next training with their full capabilities and maximize performance. If you do not rest enough after each session, your body will not have enough time to fully develop your training and you may even be the victim of overtraining.

As you improve your recovery, your body adapts better to the stress you are under, and you can become even fitter with the same exercise intensity and frequency.

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Why high-tech recovery?

While ancient recovery techniques such as getting enough sleep or more protein are being tried out, high-tech devices will improve your game and get you ready to go back to the gym in record time.

The tools listed below will assist you in many ways. They allow you to perform unusual massage techniques for sore muscles and to convert body heat into radiation that literally makes your cells grow faster. And who does not want more unusual toys to improve his fitness?

These devices are all tools that you can use at home. Forget the days of expensive spa treatments and relax from the comfort of your couch.


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Angela Lang / CNET

Spryng's forthcoming calf compression device eliminates the swelling that causes your legs to feel sore, increases blood flow to your muscles, and helps them heal faster. In addition, the gentle pressure feels good after a long day at your feet.

Spryng is currently funded on Indiegogo via crowdfunding and is expected to ship in September 2019.

HyperIce Fitness Scooter

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HyperIce's Vibrating Foam Roller combines a massage technique with a vibration therapy for a two-in-one hit on the aching muscles. Both the myofascial release (also called foam rollers) and the vibration therapy help to relax tense muscles, relieve pain and improve blood circulation.

While anyone who has used a foam roller knows it hurts at the moment, the pain is worth it when you wake up with an amazing feeling the next morning.

UnderArmour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear

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This sleepwear reflects the body heat as infrared radiation to help regenerate the workout.


UnderArmour sleepwear has a technology that absorbs the heat given off by the body and reflects back as infrared radiation that promotes cell regrowth. Cell regeneration is a key element of muscle growth because when muscle repairs itself to become stronger, it needs new tissue and more cells. While the technology feels like a movie, the research suggests it's legitimate. And if Tom Brady is here, I'm here.

Use this option to feel fresher after a good night's sleep. UA's Athlete Recovery Sleepwear is available in shirts, shorts and pants for men and women. There is even recovery sheets.


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The packaging can be thrown into the freezer or microwave.


ThermX foam rollers can be heated in the microwave or refrigerated in the freezer. While cooling the muscles for recovery is slightly better, it has been shown that heat is also effective in relaxing and reducing swelling.

The Wave Tool

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Wave Tools

The Wave Tool combines hand massage therapy with IASTM, which stands for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization and is exactly what it sounds like. The tool helps to loosen scar tissue from old injuries and to keep your muscles loose. It has eight different surfaces that can be used on any part of your body, from aching wrists to aching back.


Theragun uses impact technology to increase blood flow and relieve muscle soreness. It's expensive, but professional athletes like NBA superstar Kyrie Irving swear by it. This rather aggressive-looking tool resembles a steroid massage and provides intense vibration to deeply massage your muscles.

If you want a Thergun, but the price is too high, look at the older models available for a lot less. And Theragun is not the only massage gun that promises the same results.


NormaTec wraps your entire legs (or arms, depending on which system you buy). Delivering a pulsating motion that mimics the pumping of your muscles. It increases blood circulation, makes you more flexible and lowers your pain threshold. Elite athletes like gymnast Simone Biles use it. And it looks like you're wearing half an astronaut suit, so there's really no reason not to get that.

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