By Linda Melone | Edited by Matt Butler
Whether it was a vigorous workout, starting a new fitness program, or simply trying a new exercise, it’s more than likely you’ll suffer from muscle soreness. The muscle soreness that occurs 24 to 48 hours after working out, results from microscopic damage to muscle fibers during strenuous physical activity.
While it’s common to suffer from sore muscles, it can be debilitating, uncomfortable, and just downright painful at times. Thankfully, much can be done to both treat and prevent muscle soreness so you can cut down recovery time and get back to doing what you love.
Nutrition to strengthen your muscles
Protein, such as that found in high-quality shakes, can supply the amino acids needed to repair muscle tissue and prevent muscle knots. And the following foods and supplements may help speed the process.
Blueberries. Blueberries not only reduce the pain associated with exercise-induced muscle damage and improve recovery time, but they also aid in removing cellular waste from muscle tissue. Try throwing half a pound of blueberries in a smoothie 12-hours before a workout to significantly reduce damage to muscles.
Ginger. Ginger’s stimulating action on the circulation aids in bringing blood, oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissue while removing cellular waste. Add a teaspoon of powdered ginger to your daily diet, or try a ginger supplement, for 2-weeks prior to a strenuous event and for two days after an event to ease painful muscles.
Pycnogenol. Found in French maritime pine tree bark, Pycnogenol has shown to improve performance and endurance, and reduce muscle knots and soreness. Taken long-term, Pycnogenol supplements can help reduce muscular pain, build endurance, and improve overall fitness performance. Use 100 to 150 milligrams daily to strengthen blood vessels, reduce oxidative stress, and alleviate cramping.
Tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients and powerful antioxidants that help to reduce oxidative stress leading to muscle damage. Try 12 ounces of tart cherry juice (or 90 to 100 tart cherries) for a week leading up to an endurance event (like a marathon or extreme challenge) and for up to 48-hours afterward. Tart cherry juice also reduces inflammation due to arthritis.
Watermelon juice. Try drinking about 2-cups of watermelon juice pre-and post-workout to aid the detoxification of cellular waste built up during exercise and to enhance muscle performance.
Herbal ointments to soothe your muscles
Applying herbal remedies topically can also help ease muscle soreness, especially white willow and arnica; arnica helps break up tiny clots that form in injured muscle tissue, allowing for better blood flow. Comfrey and plantain also facilitate tissue repair, while witch hazel promotes flexibility.
Foam rollers to relieve your muscles
Myofascial release is becoming more and more prominent in the fitness world and is an excellent way to ease tight muscles before and after a workout. Whether it’s your upper back, quads, glutes, or calves, a foam roller is an excellent way to reduce muscle soreness, increase flexibility, increase blood flow, and prevent injury. Foam rollers are inexpensive and easy to use.
Muscle soreness and muscle knots may be normal consequences of working out. But that doesn’t mean you should let it slow you down.
If you have any questions about which supplements can help prevent and ease muscle soreness and improve your fitness performance, contact us today!