If you are a "fitness freak" this blog post is for you. When we workout, we break muscle fibers that, when they regenerate, become stronger. Nutrition is a key factor for this recovery to be faster and more efficient. In a similar way, how you feed your muscle with oxygen functions. This is why performing a set of stretching exercises and recovery movements can allow the process to be faster. I used to do these exercises after competing in track and field, so believe me, they have been tested ;)
Stretch your calves and hamstrings
If you don't have much time, this is the most important one. You can do it right before bed, against the wall while you read or simply taking some time for yourself to relax. To get into the pose, face sideways and place your hip next to it. Lay down towards the floor as you straighten the legs in front of you against the wall. The key to it? Keep the toes pointing towards your feet to keep them active. It may seem like a simple exercise (it is) but staying here for 10 minutes can be more intense than you had originally thought.
Stretch your aductors at the wall
From the previous exercise, open the legs out to the sides as much as your mobility allows. If you really want to work on you flexibility here, you can even wear some ankle weights. However, stay in it for more time is easier on the body (5-10 minutes) and will provide the same effect. Check on how the height of you feet respect to the floor changes from when you get into to when you come out of it. When you wish to exit, help yourself to bend the knees with both of your hands.
Stretch the quads and psoas
From a table top position, bring one foot to the outside of one of your hands, keeping both hands "inside". You can stay on your hands or you can lower down to your forearms. To get deeper into the psoas, you can rotate your foot outwards and stay on the outer knife edge, allowing the knee open. If you also wish to stretch the quads, bend the back leg and take opposite hand to foot and twist. Stay in each variation between 5-10 breaths. If you notice more tension on one side, stay there longer. Pamper it ;)
Stretch the outer hip
We still need to work on the outer part of the legs. This stretch exercise is divine if you spend a lot of time at the office or doing lots of sports. The hip area tends to accumulate tension.
Come to lay down on the floor and bend both legs. Cross one leg in front of the other, placing the ankle on the opposite quadriceps, and opening the knee outwards. Cross your hands behind the bent leg to bring the legs closer to the torso. Keep your lumbar spine in contact with the floor!
Lengthen the spine
Do you have tension on the upper part of your spine? This can be due to patterns in your body and posture, but it can also be due to exercise (specially running). This is a great "test" to see where you are at. To get into it, lay-down facing up and bring your legs up and over your head. If your feet don't reach the floor behind you, place them on a chair or a cushion so they can rest there. I encourage you to stay here for 2 minutes. This is a pose I personally use to know if I need to go to a massage or not ;)
Wohooooo! There we go, you have all my secrets to recover faster from your workouts!