After leaving boot camp, we can sometimes feel a little beat up and achy! It’s something to be expected as we run those hard surfaces, perform 100 pushups, 200 sit-ups and 300 squats! But just as we work hard, it’s as imperative to pamper those achy muscles too. Here are 3 ways to bring some relief to those well deserved muscles!
It’s a practice that dates back to prehistory but has gained more popularity as discoveries of its benefits become more known. When yoga is mentioned, for most people, stretching comes to mind. This is definitely one of the many benefits. Yoga stretches out the muscles and joints on a physical level. But it can also help you to go deeper into a stretch as you learn to use your mind to release any self imposed limitations. Practicing yoga can help to relieve muscle soreness and accelerate recovery between training sessions. Yoga will also loosen tight muscles where lactic acid accumulates during high energy trainings. If you’re new to the practice and experience tightness in the muscles, you will be surprised at the immediate affects. So investigate and find a local studio that offers yoga classes that suit your schedule or pop in a yoga DVD to add to your regular exercise routine.
If you had to choose between stretching and an intense workout, hands down, stretching would probably take a back seat. According to research, stretching helps to increase blood flow in the muscle, improve flexibility and prevent injury by helping the joints move through full range of motion. This in turn helps to reduce muscle soreness. Here are three stretches to add to your routine:
- Sit with legs straight and directly in front of you. Take a deep breath while extending tall through the spine. While exhaling, hinge from the hip and reach for the furthest part of the leg that allows you to feel a bit of tension, not pain! That may be the knee, the calf or the ankles from some of you. This is a great stretch for the hamstrings.
- Sit with both legs bent, soles of the feet touching (like a butterfly). Take a deep breath while extending the spine nice and tall. While exhaling, bring the chest towards the feet while keeping the back nice and flat. This is great for the inner thigh.
- Position hands directly under the shoulder and hips directly above the knees in tabletop position. Sit back on the heels and extend hands out in front of you still on the floor. This stretches the lower back.
Some key things to consider when stretching:
1. Warm up for 5-10 minutes before stretching.
2. Avoid bouncing (ballistic stretching) as this can cause small tears in the muscles.
3. Be sure to hold the stretch between 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-4 times.
4. Stretch to the point of tension, not pain. There’s a difference.
5. Be consistent. It can be time-consuming but aim for 2-3 times per week.
Epsom Salt offers many benefits including soothing sore muscles. It plays a role in the formation of joint proteins and strengthening the walls of the digestive tract. Epsom Salt is made of a compound called magnesium sulfate. One of the earliest discoveries was in Epsom, England hence the name Epsom Salt. Magnesium is necessary to keep enzyme activity regular in the body. By taking an Epsom Salt bath magnesium and sulfate are restored in the system through the skin. What are the other benefits of Epsom Salt? It can help soften the skin and prevent wrinkles. Try it and see how great it feels. Some doctors recommend soaking 2-3 times per weeks.
If you begin incorporating these things into your regular routine, you should experience less injury, less soreness and greater range of motion!