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We all know the feeling. Returning to the routine, to the gym, to the running sessions … and I’m sure you are already noticing muscular discomfort or some stiffness that comes with getting back into the swing of things.
You are not alone! It also happens to me when I take a few weeks off. But, I have some tricks up my sleeve that work really that I think can help you. I am not talking about throwing yourself on the sofa without doing anything, I recommend quite the opposite: the best thing to do for stiffness is to stay active and rather than stopping sport completely, just lower the intensity.
Diet is also important. I suggest an increase in protein-rich foods to replace damaged muscles and also an anti-inflammatory diet.
But what is soreness anyways?
- These are micro-tears that occur in muscle tissue 24 – 48 hours after exerting yourself while doing sports. They usually appear after a period of sedentary lifestyle and also because you exerted a lot in the activity.
- Rest: resting and sleeping well helps repair those micro tears and regenerate damaged muscles.
- Gentle exercise: it is advisable not to stop physical activity altogether. A moderate exercise and some passive stretching help to reactivate the blood supply and to mobilize the muscle. This gentle activity also helps to soothe the discomfort of soreness and promote recovery.
- Cold treatments: cold showers or creams are especially useful to reduce pain and eliminate inflammation.
- Massages: they help a lot in reducing inflammation, repairing damaged tissues, and eliminating toxins. Apply a few drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil to your cream or base oil to also help fight fatigue.
The anti-sore diet:
- Hydration: the loss of water from sweating causes muscle weakness. If we do not hydrate ourselves well, more muscle damage and a greater inflammatory response can be generated.
- Bananas: it is the preferred fruit for athletes since it is easy to eat, is full of nutrients, is high in potassium, and contains a mineral that helps prevent muscle cramps and discomfort.
- Bars: a supplement high in nutrients that will restore energy. I recommend that you choose bars without added sugar, gluten-free and lactose-free, like this one with Carrot and Walnuts. It’s delicious!
- Cherries: contain many antioxidants that help muscles to recover more quickly. I suggest blending cherries with some banana and avocado, for one of my favorite after-workout smoothies. A great way to recharge your batteries.
- Proteins: this type of food favors anabolism, that is, protein synthesis and tissue repair. That is why, after a strong training session, I usually eat an omelette or a meat stew. I also add a good scoop of Vegan Chocolate Protein to my smoothies.
- Magnesium: is one of the minerals that is lost to a greater extent during sports. If you want to avoid muscle cramps and stiffness, include foods such as leafy green vegetables, quinoa, avocado or cocoa in your diet.
- Anti inflammatory diet: cinnamon and ginger as well as foods rich in Omega 3 (blue fish, walnuts, flax seeds …) are very beneficial to reduce muscle discomfort. I also recommend turmeric, a spice that relaxes muscles and protects joints. I leave you my super recipe for Golden Milk.
How to Avoid Soreness:
Warm up before doing sports: you can walk briskly or jog a little a few minutes before your physical activity, thus helping to prepare the muscles.
- Stretching after sports activity: it is essential to relax the muscles and avoid stiffness.
- Regulate the intensity and time of your activity to your physical condition: go little by little, don’t be in a hurry. If you allow the body to adapt to the sports routine, it will be easier to avoid the stiffness later.
- Be consistent: keep a sports routine as part of your life. The benefits are infinite: better rest, better mood, lower level of stress, less probability of suffering from diseases such as cancer or diabetes, improved brain health …