As an avid cyclist and weight trainer, the reduction of inflammation and soreness is of great importance to me. The less inflamed and sore I am, the more I can train and the better I feel. As a nutritionist, food is my first go-to when it comes to healing sore muscles, but there are many non-edible ways to help your body deal with those aches and pains after exercise, so you can get back to your sport stronger and healthier than ever!
1. Ice Ice Baby
Although the thought of taking an ice-cold bath post-workout doesn’t seem like the most desirable thing to do, research has shown that cold water immersion baths have been extremely successful for athletes looking to recover faster, between sporting events. Cold water immersion is commonly used to manage delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It has been proven that 10 minutes of cold water immersion in 6 degrees Celsius water was associated with the lowest levels of muscle soreness and pain.1 If you are brave enough to handle the cold, I suggest trying this! Throw on some Vanilla Ice for motivation!
2. Topical Cayenne
Known to many as a colorful and flavorful spice, capsicum frutescens (cayenne) has become ever-so popular in the sports world due to its powerful antiinflammatory effects. Cayenne stimulates circulation and bloodflow.. While I love to cook with cayenne by sprinkling it on veggies or adding it to smoothies and sauces, cayenne can also be used topically, to naturally reduce muscle soreness.2,3 Look for a topical rub that includes cayenne as an ingredient.
3. Epsom Salt Baths
Who doesn’t love taking a relaxing bath? Submerging your body and or specific sore muscles (like tired feet) in Epsom salts has been extremely popular with athletes and runners for quite some time. I like to soak in a bath with 1 cup on Epsom Salt for 15 to 20 minutes to relieve my sore muscles. You can also harness the power of aromatherapy and add in peppermint or lavender essential oils to relieve stress.
While proper nutrition is paramount when it comes to reducing inflammation and soreness in the body, so is lifestyle. I have personally seen great results with myself and my clients, when incorporating ice baths, cayenne and Epsom salt baths into post-workout recovery and reducing inflammation. After all, no one wants to feel sore! Be sure to take care of your body with proper nutrition and care, as it’s the only one you have!
What are your favorite ways to conquer inflammation and muscle soreness? Share below!
- Glasgow PD, Ferris R, Bleakley CM. (2014). Cold water immersion in the management of delayed-onset muscle soreness: Is dose important? A randomised controlled trial. Physical Therapy in Sport.
- Gagnier JJ, van Tulder M, Berman B, Bombardier C. (2006). Herbal Medicine for Low Back Pain.Cochrane Database System Review.
- Health Canada. (2014). Natural Health Products Database: Monograph Cayenne. Accessed on 7/10/14 from: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=cayenne&lang=eng