You're done with your run, but what you do afterward is just as important for your health. Read on to find out if you're making five common post-workout mistakes—and learn how to fix them.
1. You forget to stretch. Just 10 minutes of stretching can alleviate aches and pains that can last much longer if you skip out. Stretching also accelerates muscle repair and keeps fascia and muscles supple, both of which are important for preventing injury and increasing flexibility. If you don't want to have to trade your running hobby for injury-induced couch time, take a few minutes after each run to stretch.
2. You don't refuel. You're meeting friends for happy hour after a 45-minute treadmill session, and after a shower, hair and makeup session, and a round of drinks, it hits you—you're starving! Eating a post-workout snack isn't just important for your grumbling stomach, however: Having a protein- and carb-rich snack between 30 minutes and two hours after you work out replenishes your muscles' energy stores as well as helps them become stronger. After all, why undo all the hard work you've done right away? Keep a simple post-workout snack in your gym bag if you're not going to be able to make or order food in your two-hour window.
3. You don't drink enough water. After a run, make sure you hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, especially if you didn't drink water during your workout. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, cramps, mood swings, and other unpleasant symptoms that are the opposite of the workout euphoria you should be feeling.
4. You don't change out of your clothes. After-gym errands and resting on the couch can postpone shower time indefinitely, but it's not worth the results: perma-odor on your workout clothes, body acne, and even yeast infections. Change out of your workout garb as soon as you can.
5. You don't schedule your next run. You didn't want to wake up early to go on a run, but you did and are feeling pretty proud. Instead of using it as an excuse to postpone your next run, let that enthusiasm carry you to your next workout. Pencil in your next run, find a fun running workout, and keep it consistent—your health will thank you for it.