5 Ways to Help Muscle Recovery After Your Workout
If you’ve had a hard workout, you’ll know that a day or two later you’re going to feel the pain of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). It is important to let your muscles rest while they are rebuilding and repairing. You can’t really bypass this physiological response. But you can support the healing process, treating your body and mind at the same time.
Here are 5 habits that we are trying to instill into our children (because they are currently WAY more active than we are!) after they’ve played sport or been to CrossFit.
1 – Stretching. The advice on this is constantly changing. For example, whether or not it is necessary to stretch before your activity (it seems that for elite athletes the answer is no). But for most of us ‘regular’ people, stretching is thought to help with improving range of motion, joint alignment and blood flow. Stretching also simply feels good, relieving muscle tension, and giving you that mental breather between your workout and the rest of your day.
2 - Protein. It seems to be the rage to down a protein shake after a workout. But our kids don’t really like these (thank goodness because they’re quite expensive!) so we are encouraging them to take a snack pack of mixed raw nuts to nibble on instead. Their sports are mainly in the afternoons so it’s also fairly easy to have a protein-packed dinner when they get home. Protein is the building block for your muscles and helps to repair damaged muscle tissue.
3 – Hydration. Oh how the kids roll their eyes at this one! One of our boys is a swimmer and he finds it impossible to believe he can be dehydrated when he’s surrounded by water for hours! But it’s easy to become dehydrated. And a drop of just 2-3% in hydration levels can reduce your athletic performance by up to 20%. You feel lethargic and your blood flow to your muscles suffers. When you’re dehydrated your gut can’t process food optimally, so your body misses out on important nutrients, as well as being unable to flush out toxins properly. You’re also more likely to experience cramps and wear and tear on your joints (your cartilage needs water to maintain its cushioning).
Pretty much every room in our house (and every seat in the car) has at least one water bottle in it as a reminder to keep sipping throughout the day, rather than waiting until we feel thirsty. To be honest, it probably was never planned as a reminder. More that the glasses just don’t get taken back to the kitchen to be washed! Don’t get me started on the number of half-empty glasses dotted around the house. And don’t believe my kids when they say that my work desk is the worst culprit!
4 – Sleep. Why do so many of us fight it? We know how important good sleep is for our well-being but we tend to over-ride this base physiological need. The lure of Netflix, social media, that feeling of wanting an hour to ourselves once the kids have gone to bed. Or maybe you struggle to get to sleep. If you find you can’t switch off your mind at bedtime, or you experience cramps or restless legs when you’re in bed, have you tried magnesium oil?
You simply massage about 6 - 8 sprays onto the soles of your feet at bedtime for a whole-body magnesium boost. Magnesium is known as The Relaxation Mineral. It relaxes your muscles and your mind (this is because it limits the effects of cortisol, your stress hormone). It helps regulate your neurotransmitters, activating the parts of your brain that help you sleep, and inhibiting the areas that keep you awake. And it partners with melatonin to control your body clock’s sleep-wake cycles.
5 – Relaxing. My favourite method! And it involves magnesium again. Why just ease your muscles in a warm bath when you can SUPERSOAK them in an Epsom salt bath? This is exactly what we developed SO:Active for. It’s got the magnesium from the natural Epsom salt, and a double whammy with the lactic acid-neutralising addition of organic sodium bicarb. Its five essential oils were chosen because of their muscle-soothing abilities too. This one also pairs nicely with getting more sleep, as a warm bath in the evening then leads to a drop in body temperature, giving a signal to your body that it's time to sleep. And it's also easier to drift into sleep when your muscles are relaxed.
If you’ve stumbled across this blog and you’re in New Zealand and would like to try our natural magnesium oil for yourself, use code BLOG at checkout to get 20% off your first bottle. You don’t have to be an athlete or ripped body builder to benefit!
PS - We've just released a Magnesium Oil with added lavender, which is well-known for its calming, soothing properties. Your code will work for this Mag Oil too.