People who exercise regularly report being more satisfied with their lives than those who don’t. Exercise improves our overall health, but many of us make post-workout mistakes that could be making our physical routine less effective and we’re here to tell you about them.

Bright Side wants you to have the most productive workouts, so we’ve prepared this list of the most common mistakes for you.

1. Passive cool-down

A passive cool-down means you stay in absolute rest after your routine, like when you sit on a couch, watch TV, or lay on your bed for a while. Scientists believe it’s not beneficial for you since your body is trying to recover from all the exercise and it does so progressively. Instead try an active cool-down. Your body requires a little bit of movement, so try doing some chores in the house or playing with the kids.

2. Not having something to eat

Exercise makes your muscle fibers stretch and uses glycogen to fuel your body. This is why replenishing those losses quickly is so crucial. Try eating a meal consisting of protein and a little bit of carbs, no more than 30 minutes after your workout. You would not only be healing and thickening your muscles by eating protein, but you would also be consuming the calories you’ll need to recover your glycogen levels and your day without feeling exhausted. Indulge in some fruit and milk or meat.

3. Forgetting to rehydrate properly

Your body uses water to fulfill all of its biological functions, which is why it’s critical that you replace the water lost during exercise. While energy drinks may be ok before your workout, to boost your performance, experiments have shown they tend to raise your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose. These effects don’t allow your body to quickly normalize its physiological levels, so it’s better to skip them to preserve all the health benefits you acquired during your workout.

4. Not putting on warm clothes

During the workout, all the effort you put in makes your core body temperature rise. You may be tempted to stay in a tank top, but your body’s working hard now to recover from all the stress it just went through. An analysis proves that it can even lower its defenses. Wearing very light clothes will only make you more prone to a virus or a common cold. If you exercise to stay healthy and boost your immune system, then put on clothes that will keep you warm, especially in winter, until you feel your body has reached its normal temperature.

5. Skipping stretching

Stretching is part of the recovery from a workout. To reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, it is fundamental for you to stretch after your routine, as research shows. Not only that, but it improves your flexibility, enabling you to better perform each exercise and get the most out of it.

6. Not showering

After training, your core body temperature rises, so if you long for a cool shower don’t make yourself wait. A cool shower aids the process of recovery in your muscles. It diminishes soreness and helps muscles reconstruct faster, which will leave you equipped for a better workout the next day. Plus, exercise makes your skin healthier, but if you don’t take a shower, you’ll be leaving all that rapidly reproducing bacteria on your skin.

7. Stressing too much

Try to relax after the gym. Stress affects your ability to fully perform your routine. It also makes you less prone to exercise the following days, causing you to lose momentum and putting an end to the benefits of being active, which result from regular training. Spending time with family, friends, or practicing a hobby is a good way to lower your stress levels.

8. Having a post-workout drink

If you exercise because you like to see your body toned and your muscles fit, ditch that beer. Alcohol inhibits muscle growth, preventing you from achieving your workout goals faster.

9. Taking ibuprofen for sore muscles

The action of building muscle mass after the gym diminishes after taking ibuprofen, as scientists suggest. You would basically be erasing all those minutes of working out and getting further away from your fitness goals.

Which tricks do you use to make sure you get all the benefits from your workout? Share it with the community below!

Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for Bright Side