Summer “fun in the sun” usually means you’re pushing your body more than usual. Instead of sitting at your desk, you’re biking at the park or running on the beach, enjoying the outdoors. An increase in activity is great for your health, and you may feel that pain in your muscles, but significant muscle soreness could be the result of small tears in muscle fibre that combine with an inflammatory process within. You’ll notice this type of soreness after more challenging or unfamiliar exercise: lack of strength, sore muscles, decrease of muscle contractability and muscle stiffness.
If your body needs a little help with the recovery process, try one of these 5 tips:
1. Do an active cool down
Instead of resting complete after exercise, try a 50% decrease in activity instead. Spending more time cooling down to make your muscles recover easier, for example, doing 20 minutes of low or moderate intensity cycling after a strength work out. Researchers believe it has to do with better blood flow, which reduces blood lactate (the metabolic by-product that makes your muscles sore).
2. Use a foam roller
While it may be super painful, foam rolling on sore muscles seriously helps repair your muscles. It is speculated that foam rolling decreases the swelling in the muscles and enhances tissue healing. Studies showed that foam rolling immediately after exercise and again 24 hours later may reduce muscle tenderness.
3. Consume antioxidants and protein frequently in the next 24 hours
If you haven’t tried a protein shake after a workout or high intensity activity, you should. It does more than just refuel your muscles, but actually aids in the recovery of muscle function. Adding antioxidants to your meal in the next 24 hours can further improve the recovery of your muscles even more. Try to load up on protein like chicken or fish, and antioxidant-rich foods like pomegranate and kale, and watch your recovery time drop.
4. Get a massage
An obvious remedy for good reason; massages really do help get rid of sore muscles. Massage stimulates mitochondria in cells, which promotes cell function and repair. Studies have found that a post-exercise massage significantly reduces pain, because it reduces the release of compounds that cause inflammation in the body.
5. Use emu oil
Speaking of anti-inflammation, emu oil is your best mate when it comes to finding a massage oil that does double duty – not only is it a powerful anti-inflammatory that reduces muscle pain, it’s coupled with superior skin-penetrating properties which allows the emu oil to penetrate the outer layer of skin and absorb much more effectively to heal from deep within. Additionally, emu oil increases blood circulation which speeds up your skin’s healing time too.