I’ve started to incorporate strength training into my health and fitness routine and as a result I’ve encountered days of sore muscles. (Today is one of those days.) Having tender muscles after a good work out is a good sign, it means you’re working your muscles deeply promoting strength and resilience.
Reducing muscle soreness can seem like an impossible feat, but rest assured I have a few tricks I’d like to share.
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1 – Bikram yoga
Bar none, this is the best remedy for sore muscles. The heated 90 minute yoga class works your body from the inside out, rebalancing your body’s natural chemistry and working out lactic acid from your muscles. If you don’t have a Bikram yoga studio in your community, you can also opt for a generic “heated or hot” yoga class. You can also take a hot shower or bath and stretch afterwards.
2- Proper hydration
Be sure to drink lots of fluids! Lemon water can help reduce lactic acid that forms in your body by creating more alkaline water.
You can also make your own (and healthier) version of gatorade for during and after your workouts. All you need is: filtered tap water, a pinch of salt, honey or low grade maple syrup, fresh squeezed lemon, orange or grapefruit. You can also check out this great post by Nina Cherie Franklin about five interesting post-workout beverages.
3- Epsom salt baths
A warm epsom salt bath is a great way to relax and relieve soreness. The salt is made from magnesium sulfate, which is absorbed through the skin during a bath, helping to reduce swelling, joint pain and lactic acid build up. When you get muscle craps or “charlie horses” after a hard workout, chances are you are deficient in magnesium. Taking a bath is one way to get a good dose.
Place approximately two cups of epsom salts in a warm to hot bath and soak for at least twenty minutes. You can even add essential oils to the salts if you want a nice relaxing peppermint, eucalyptus or lavender scented bath. Check out Jenny Bradford’s recommendations for the best essential oils to use in your epsom salt bath.
4- Foam roller
Foam rollers (pictured above) are a new and incredible way to get a deep tissue massage without going to a masseuse. I use my foam roller as part of my cool down and in the evenings while I relax or watch television. You can pick up a foam roller from anywhere between $8.00 – $80.00. I spent around $30 on mine and purchased it at my local running store. They don’t take up much space and are a great way to relax and work through any tightness that has accumulated.
You will notice a lot of different sizes, in my opinion there is no need to get the really long roller. Mine is around 24 inches and gets the job done! (Note, it’s easy to over work your muscles with the foam roller, go lightly at first!)
5- Natural Vitality Calm Plus Calcium drink
I recently wrote about this powdered drink in my post about “travel essentials.” In addition to keeping you regular, this drink is a blend of calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, potassium and boron. In order to absorb calcium you body needs enough magnesium, this drink provides both. I typically drink this after a workout and right before bed.
6- Eat foods rich in magnesium
Coconut water, brown rice, lentils, oatmeal, quinoa, spinach, bananas, kidney and black beans, avocados, and are all good examples of fruits and vegetables rich in magnesium.
7 – Cool down after workouts
It’s easy to shower, pack up and head home after your workout, but taking time to properly cool down and stretch your muscles will really help reduce soreness.
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Disclaimer: These are testimonials from my experience using essential oils, these claims have not been backed up by the FDA and are not intended to cure, treat or diagnose.
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