All of us have experienced muscle soreness at some point. It could be because you started a new type of workout, (has anyone checked out one of the new boutique boxing gyms popping up in major Canadian cities?) turned the resistance up past the point of no return in spin class, ran longer than normal or did some heavy lifting while running errands (are anyone else’s kids getting heavier by the second?!). You go to bed feeling fine and dandy and wake up barely able to move or worse, 2 days later you start feeling it (this little devil is called delayed-onset muscle soreness).
So what’s going on? The act of lengthening the muscle while under resistance causes microscopic tears in your muscle tissue that causes inflammation. Boom.
Even though you may not be able to eliminate it entirely, you are able to reduce it. We’ve asked fitness experts for their, well, expert advice and this is what they recommend:
- Do a light warm-up before getting into the heavy/strenuous stuff. A light jog, fast walk, active stretching, and a light cycle are all good options.
- Make active recovery part of your routine the day after your workout. Activities similar to your warm-up are suitable. Walk to dinner, throw a Frisbee around, or go for a walk with your kids. Get your muscles moving and blood flowing.
- Consume Vitamin C. To have a solid effect studies show that a dose of approx. 3 grams is necessary. This is more than the daily recommended dosage so do consult your doctor or nutritionist before diving in.
- Eat potassium rich foods post-workout. Bananas are a great source and easy to peel and eat or toss in a smoothie.
- Foam roll. Your best friend and worst enemy, a true love hate relationship. Your muscles and fascia can become knotted. Removing these knots with a foal roller will reduce tightness and prevent muscle imbalances that can ultimately lead to injury if not corrected.
- Eat watermelon! L-Citrulline, the active ingredient in watermelon, can decrease muscle soreness by up to 50% and has the potential to increase athletic performance during HIIT workouts (sprints or tabata exercises for example). Bonus, it’s hydrating! Check out Oil & Grain’s post on cutting watermelon and have it ready to eat pre and/or post-sweat.
- Ginger if consumed within 24 hours after a workout can help reduce muscle soreness by up to 25%. Add it to your favorite smoothie for a little extra zip.
- Cucumin, an Indian food staple, has high antioxidant properties that can help reduce muscle ache and speed up recovery. Butter chicken for the win!
- Take a bath with Epsom salts. Make it even more relaxing by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil. A great segway into our last point…
- Get a good night’s sleep. Shut down your electronics at least one hour before bed and give yourself time to sleep. Adults do well with between 7-9 hours a night. Be kind to your body and let it rest and recover.
There you have it #HEMMSfemmes, take on those challenging workouts without hesitation. Prepare by determining what you will consume/do to love your body up before and after a strenuous sweat session and go after your fitness goals with fiery determination!
~Oil & Grain for HEMM