The Best Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness
We fully endorse the work hard play hard lifestyle here at Wish Rock Relaxation. In fact, our very own hard working Top Rock, Joanna, recently took a trip to South America where she spent her time hiking and exploring. Here are a few pictures from her adventure filled trip:
There is a third step to the work hard play hard life, and that is to relax and recover. It is not only beneficial for your mind, but your body requires it. When you stress the body through being active and working out, you are fatiguing your muscles, or causing microscopic damage to muscle cells. This causes hormone and enzyme levels to fluctuate and inflammation to increase. Recovery allows your muscles to heal and leads to muscle growth, fat loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and an overall healthier body. Each time you recover, the muscles become slightly fitter than they were before.
Here are some ways to best relieve muscle soreness:
To enhance flexibility and reduce muscle tension after a workout, stretching is important! A post workout stretch will increase flexibility, improve blood circulation, eliminate lactic acid, boost your energy, prevent pain, give you an improved range of motion, increase muscular coordination, and gives mental clarity and mind-body connection.
Water is a powerful tool in muscle recovery for many reasons. Your body is made primarily of water, and water helps carry nutrients, electrolytes and virtually every other substance in your body to your muscles and organs. As you workout, you are probably sweating. This causes dehydration, which, if not replenished, can slow the delivery of nutrients to your muscles, which slows muscle growth and can even cause pain and injuries. Physiologists recommend 6-8 eight ounce glasses of water per day, and extra when you are exercising.
Use a Foam Roller
Foam rolling helps align the muscle fibers and reduce discomfort as the body repairs itself. It flushes toxins and helps alleviate soreness by moving lactic acid and carbon dioxide out of the muscles and tissues and into the lymphatic system.
A comprehensive review published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy concluded that foam rolling promotes short-term increases in range of motion. Research consistently shows that foam rolling can increase muscle flexibility, which means you feel less tight and probably perform your workouts with better, more efficient, and safer form.
Massage may help sore muscles recover by decreasing inflammation and activating genes that promote the creation of mitochondria, structures that are the energy factories inside cells.
“If someone starts an endurance exercise training program, after two or four months of training, depending on the intensity, you essentially double the volume of mitochondria in muscle,” says researcher Mark A. Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, a professor of pediatrics and head of Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Disease at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Mitochondria, he says, help the cell to take up and use oxygen: “The muscles’ ability to extract oxygen is proportional to the amount of mitochondria that are there.”
“Exercise plus massage seems to enhance that pathway,” Tarnopolsky says.
Tiger Balm contains only natural, herbal ingredients including camphor, menthol, cajuput oil, mint oil, clove oil and cassia oil. These do an amazing job at alleviating muscle soreness! Available over the counter, Tiger Balm may relieve aches and strains, tension headaches, colds and congestion, back pain, neck and shoulder tension, and joint pain.
Take a Bath
Soaking in a warm tub of water can help to relax your muscles and loosen stiff joints, and adding Epsom salts to your bath can help to increase the benefits of a long, hot soak.
Heat therapy increases blood flow and elasticity of connective tissue. This means that if you have a tight muscle, a warm bath can help it to relax. Heating a sore area can also make it easier to stretch tight muscles.
- Karina Labossiere