by Margie Coghill
ave you ever had a day where every muscle in your body ached? Whether you are an occasional runner or fitness fanatic, you should consider muscle recovery as a very important factor to optimize your health. It is essential to stretch out your muscles before and after each workout to prevent unwanted stress on your body. Reaching for Ibuprofen is only a temporary fix to dull your pain and deal with fatigue and muscle soreness. Try these scientific tips to make your body feel better and recover faster from sore muscles.
Get more sleep.
Your body needs rest to prevent sickness, tiredness and muscle fatigue. Get enough sleep and give your body a break from working out every day. When you sleep, your pituitary gland releases a growth hormone. Your muscles need this hormone to repair and build tissue.
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
There are plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables to include in your diet to support muscle recovery. Raw vegetables such as carrots, celery and cucumbers are good for your body year-round and provide the most enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Bananas, watermelon, cherries or cherry juice are refreshing fruits that reduce muscle soreness. Beware of smoothies that may contain ice cream, frozen yogurt or too much fruit for a healthy diet.
Protein is good for muscle recovery.
If you perform any exercise, it is important for you to enjoy the benefits of protein to aid in muscle recovery. Protein is the foundation of any good diet. Try adding beef, eggs, poultry, fish, chocolate milk or whey protein to your diet. Researchers have shown that proteins help repair muscle damage and build new lean tissue as part of your body’s healing process.
It is crucial to drink enough water, especially during and after working out. Your body is continually losing water. Health authorities recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration. Studies have shown that mild dehydration can negatively affect brain function, energy levels and physical performance. Drinking water can boost your metabolism and speed up muscle recovery.
Limit alcohol consumption.
Many people like to indulge in adult beverages when socializing, dining out or after working out. Consuming too much alcohol can cause dehydration and damages the body’s ability to recover and build muscle after working out, especially with muscle-building exercises. Research has shown that binge drinking within 8 hours of exercising greatly harmed the recovery response in skeletal muscles regardless of diet.
Listening to music.
Music may aid in muscle recovery. Have you ever noticed that you feel more energized when you are at the gym or working out at home with the music blasting? Say your legs are sore from an intense workout, and in your mind, the music you are listening to helps you increase your stamina and motivate you to complete your workout. Studies have shown that people that listened to music recovered faster than those who did not listen to music.
Massage therapy increases the blood flow and oxygen in your muscles. It may decrease lactic acid build-up, which is typically the first sign of muscle soreness. Getting a massage may improve your circulation and lymphatic flow and reduce stress.
The cardiovascular system responds well to water immersion and may produce positive results to ease sore muscles. Hydrotherapy is the external or internal use of water in any of its forms. Aquatic therapy or swimming allows a person to retrain muscles and joints, soothing the body. Applying ice to sore muscles may decrease swelling and muscle pain.
Muscle Recovery Time
Muscle recovery depends on your fitness level and the intensity of your workout. After a light workout, your muscles may be able to recover in 24 hours. After a very vigorous workout, it may take your body 2-3 days to recover. Give your body time to rest after a workout to maximize muscle recovery.
The Bottom Line
The best way to deal with muscle recovery and soreness is to use these scientific tips to heal your body. To prevent muscle strain, ease into activity whether you are at work or play, and you will reap the benefits of a healthy body.