Feeling a bit achy after your intense workouts? Popping a few pills won't magically solve your muscle recovery needs. But don't fret, there are some simple yet effective ways to help your muscles bounce back in no time.
A recent review of research has revealed that the dynamic duo of "movement" and "massage" (not the chocolate kind of M&M's) can work wonders in reducing soreness and hastening the recovery process. Now, you don't have to rely on having a masseuse on speed dial. You can achieve similar benefits by using tools like a foam roller, massage gun, or even a lacrosse ball. It's all about getting those muscles moving and stimulated.
As for the "movement" part, it doesn't have to be anything intense. A leisurely stroll or a relaxed bike ride can do the trick. These activities boost blood circulation, allowing essential nutrients from food (especially protein) to reach your muscles and aid in repair. Oh, and don't forget the importance of nourishing whole foods and staying well-hydrated. As an added bonus, there's some evidence suggesting that tart cherry juice may help alleviate soreness.
If you're looking for more recovery options, consider trying compression garments like tights, which can provide some extra support. Another technique worth exploring is contrast therapy, where you alternate between hot and cold treatments. However, be cautious with excessive cold therapy, such as taking ice baths, as it could potentially hinder muscle growth, particularly if your goal is to gain muscle mass.
Heat oils can be applied before a workout to relax the muscles and stimulate blood flow, potentially increasing your performance. Cold treatments are better for post-workout recovery to ease muscle pain.
Here's an important tip to keep in mind: steer clear of pain relievers. Research indicates that using common pain relievers like ibuprofen (found in Advil) or naproxen could interfere with your body's natural repair process and slow down your recovery.
Remember, muscle recovery is crucial for making progress in your fitness journey. By incorporating movement, massage alternatives, nutrient-rich foods, hydration, and avoiding pain relievers, you'll be well on your way to a speedy and effective recovery. So, take care of those muscles, keep moving, and bounce back stronger!
Happy training & recovering!