These days, regeneration takes many forms, from active (stretching, foam rolling, yoga, myofascial release) to passive (compression boots, infrared saunas, massage, cold dunks).

“All of these enhance blood flow, which delivers more oxygen to speed up the recovery of muscles and other soft tissues,” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at Huntingdon College in Alabama and a Shape Brain Trust member. “Such recovery also increases our natural level of pain relievers, the beta-endorphins.” Bottom line: Give your body the recovery it needs, and you’ll work out harder and smarter.

That said, new gadgets and hack-y techniques can be fun, but the best post-workout Rx is simple: stretch.

Doing post-workout stretches while your muscles are still warm not only helps extend your range of movement, it helps your body de-stress, too. A new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that doing static stretches after a weight-machine routine (three sets of 10 reps) brought blood pressure down more quickly.

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