Many of us have experienced injury and soreness as a result of strenuous workouts. Sometimes, the pain or tightness is enough to make us want to quit altogether. Before you throw in the towel, it’s good to do a little research into the causes of muscle tenderness resulting from a workout, and what you can do to relieve it.
Often, inflammation plays a role, as Natalie Gingerich MacKenzie states in her article for MindBodyGreen. Our muscles and connective tissue experience micro-tears when we work out. Our bodies respond to this by prompting the immune system to raise inflammation levels to rebuild and fix these damaged areas. This does mean we grow stronger over time, with rebuilt tissue and muscles. But the physical result is muscle soreness and stiffness that gets worse over time if we don’t take the time to take care of our bodies.
Instead of quitting running altogether, it’s better to take a more healing approach to your workout routine. Following are some tips to help you get started:
Mix it up.
Instead of concentrating on one activity several times per week like running, try rotating different activities that don’t place stress on the same joints, like swimming, yoga or weight training. If you aren’t incorporating cross-training into your routine, you might be experiencing more problems than you normally would because the same areas of your body are taking on too much of the stress load. Mix it up, and do cross training at least a couple of times per week.
Strengthen your core.
We put a lot of stress on our leg and back muscles unnecessarily, because we don’t spend enough time strengthening our core. When you spend a few minutes a day doing plank poses, sit ups, and leg lifts that access the different parts of your abdominal muscles, you are building the strength of your body’s base, reducing the chance of injury to other parts.
Take magnesium supplements / electrolytes.
After a workout, it’s important to replenish the minerals you lose, including potassium and magnesium, the base of each of our body’s cells. When we encourage cell strength and renewal by making sure our body isn’t depleted, it’s better able to fight off infection and injuries and overall help our bodies function at optimal levels.
Drink protein and green smoothies.
Protein drinks help rebuild those muscles, and if you don’t eat much protein in your diet, you could be depleting your muscle’s resources. Green smoothies are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals that help decrease inflammation.
Utilize turmeric, ginger and other anti-inflammatory supplements.
Tumeric and ginger are miracle spices, aiding the body in reducing inflammation. These can be ingested as a spice, mixed in with a smoothie, used in food, or taken as a supplement, so there are many ways to incorporate into your diet. It’s good to incorporate fish oil or flaxseed oil if you’re vegetarian, so you can also rebuild your healthy fat supply, which is important to your muscles and connective tissue.
Reducing inflammation is key to the long-term health of muscles and connective tissue, and to helping achieve your overall health goals.