Muscle Pain and Recovery
Whether you do a lot of cardio or lift weights, you know that fitness and exercise can have a toll on your muscles.
Despite the benefits for your health, working out can put a lot of strain on your muscles and joints. So it’s important to pay attention to muscle recovery, so that you can prevent pains and injuries.
This article covers everything you need to know about preventing and managing muscle pain and improving recovery after your workouts. Pay attention – if you’re not already thinking of these things, you should be! Injuries can happen to the best of us.
Improving Muscle Recovery
The first thing you need to do is be proactive. Here are some things you can do to improve muscle recovery and prevent injuries and pain:
Warm Up – First, it’s critical that you warm up your muscles before any workout, whether your workout is cardio or resistance training. I recommend warming up for 5-10 minutes before your workout. In most cases, any piece of cardio equipment will do – just don’t push it too hard. Your warm up should be around an intensity level of 5 out of 10. Warming up will help increase your circulation and prepare your muscles.
Stretch – Second, make sure you’re following your workouts with 5-10 minutes of stretching. New research is showing that stretching before a workout can actually weaken your muscles slightly (especially before resistance training) so it is only necessary after your workouts. Stretching helps to improve recovery, prevent injury, and improve flexibility.
Take a Recovery Supplement – There are a number of supplements on the market that are really effective at improving muscle recovery. Most of these supplements include various amino acid complexes that help to refuel your muscles after an intense workout. Amino acids are the building blocks for your muscles, and they can improve recovery time between workouts. Here are a few of my top suggestions:
- Scivation Xtend – An effective blend of BCAA’s, some of the most effective amino acids for muscle recovery.
- Optimum Glutamine – Another great amino acid for speeding up recovery.
- Optimum 100% Natural Whey – Make sure you’re also taking a high quality protein supplement, which will help replenish your muscles with all the nutrients they need for your next workout.
One other supplement one of my good friends brought to my attention is FlexMode Joint Support which is formulated especially for joint support and is one of the only ones I’ve come across that actually works.
Managing Muscle Pain
So what do you do if you are suffering from muscle pain or a muscle injury? Well, there are a number of options out there, but either way it’s important that you do something to manage the pain.
Flexibility training (stretching) and yoga are great options for overcoming an injury or dealing with pain. Two of the most common and critical pain areas for most of us is our lower back/hamstrings and shoulders, and in these cases flexibility is absolutely crucial to preventing or recovering the pain. Some advice: pay special attention to the lower back area since it is usually tied into the fact that we have tight hamstrings (back of thighs). If you don’t work on stretching this area out regularly you will have some major issues later in life so it’s worth the extra few minutes a day it takes to work on this.
The same thing can definitely be said about the shoulders and the muscles in between. When working out make sure to have your shoulder blades back with a natural curve in the spine, checking your form in the mirror will be essential for this and if you have to go with lighter weights then don’t sacrifice form just to think that you look stronger. Stretch out your chest and shoulders using a wall or by holding on to any pole.
With respect to your knees and calves if you are experiencing any pain in these areas then really focus on stretching your thighs (quadricpes) and calves especially if you are doing a lot of cardio. Icing immediately afterwards for 15-20 minutes is also a great addition to reducing any kind of inflammation.
For more serious problems, you should definitely see a physiotherapist or any specialist who can help steer you the right way. In my humble opinion, one of the most effective treatments for muscle pain is massage.
Massages are effective for a number of reasons. First, massage stimulates the release of endorphins, which means you’ll experience an immediate decrease in pain sensations. It also improves circulation to areas which are affected, which can help to stimulate recovery. Swelling is also reduced, and even your immune system will get a boost. All in all, massage is one of the best options out there so don’t postpone making an appointment like most people I know.
Muscle Pain and Recovery – Conclusion
Whether you’re managing muscle pain or just trying to prevent it, you should take all of these tips seriously. Preventing pain and injury is critical in the long-term success of any fitness plan. Manage it and overcome it so you can get back to the gym and continue to increase your intensity and add variations which tax your muscles differently as that is the ultimate secret for you to see continued results from your workouts.
Have any questions or feedback about muscle pain and recovery? Please leave a comment below…