The on-demand fitness trend makes it easier than ever to complete an at-home workout, but many people forget about the importance of post-workout recovery, such as soaking in Epsom salt baths, health and wellness expert Darby Jackson tells the Epsom Salt Council (@epsom_salt).
Jackson co-founded Après, a plant-based protein replenishment drink, and she has been featured in national publications, such as Forbes, Well+Good and Haute Living. She says post-workout recovery is just as important as the workout itself.
“When you exercise, you actually create small micro-tears in your muscles that need to be repaired in order to grow back stronger,” said Jackson, who has consulted for several fitness startups in Silicon Valley and became the go-to health and wellness coach for the area’s FOX affiliate. “If you don’t take care of your body through proper nutrition, sleep and stretching or rolling out, you’re at higher risk for injury, you feel more tired throughout the day and you can even see your progress stall.”
Jackson says that recovery comes in many forms and can be easy to fit into your existing workout schedule. Ideally, she says you should take one to two days off per week depending on the intensity of your exercise routine. Here are Jackson’s top three ways to promote recovery:
- Epsom salt baths
Jackson says she likes to unplug with an Epsom salt bath to let her body and mind completely rest. “I like adding Epsom salt specifically because it’s able to penetrate your skin to help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints,” said Jackson. “I recommend them to clients quite often as a way to recover post-workout and also to unwind after a long day.”
2. Post-workout nutrition
Packing the proper post-workout snack can help people feel more alert and energized. According to Jackson, your body needs protein to help with muscle recovery, such as pea, chia, cacao and hemp, electrolytes to help you rehydrate, such as coconut water and sea salt, and metabolic fats for a quick source of energy, such as coconut oil. “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to put the right thing in your body post-workout,” said Jackson. “Not only does it keep you from flying off the handle at work, but it’s paramount for proper recovery, optimum brain function and overall health.”
3. Self-care practice
‘Self-care’ has become a buzzword in the wellness industry, but too many people don’t have intention in their practice and just check it off their to-do lists, Jackson said. To experience the full benefits, you must be fully present and focus on how the activity is giving back to your body. “Some of my favorite forms of self-care include red light therapy, Epsom salt baths, long walks and reading,” said Jackson. “Each of these activities help me refresh and show up stronger and more present in my day-to-day.” Jackson said that sometimes, self-care can be as simple as skipping a workout class in favor of an extra hour of sleep.
As a health and wellness coach and co-founder of Après, Jackson has a busy schedule. Her morning routine begins at 5 a.m. with meditation and intention setting, a method of identifying purpose, to avoid looking at her phone and email. She says this helps her start her day with focus instead of anxiety. While working long hours to build a company, she learned that rest is paramount.
“When you don’t take care of yourself, it bleeds into every aspect of your work,” said Jackson. “You aren’t as sharp, you make mistakes, you can’t hear your intuition and you don’t show up as well for yourself or your team.”