Whether you’re an athlete or among the many folks actively into physical fitness, muscle recovery after workouts or sports is an ongoing struggle. The harder you work to be fit, the more working out you do to build and shape your body, the more your body seems to push back. And, as most active people know, the pain threshold shifts much as we age.
Many fitness buffs and athletes have their own secret formulas or products to prevent or address post-workout muscle pain. It could be a dietary secret, a cocktail of supplements, or the use of an external muscle-aiding product like massage guns or a heating ointment.
Whatever the routine, there may be other potential solutions. Here are 5 products to help your muscles recover faster.
Watch Thy Diet for Post-Workout Muscle Pain
Most athletes are keenly aware of vitamin or herbal supplements in pill form to boost performance and recovery. However, not all are aware that by increasing the amount of certain food items they ingest regularly, the body could react favorably.
Some say that vitamins gained through food intake are better for the body than those taken in pill form – that the body digests the vitamins better naturally. Considering this, here are some food products to fill your pantry or refrigerator to help prevent or treat muscle pain:
- Produce: Vitamin C could be considered the “athlete’s friend,” as it helps the body to repair cartilage and connecting tissues through its part in creating collagen. This protein helps build blood vessels – important to help the body deliver nutrients and oxygen to hurting muscles – as well as building scar tissue. What to buy: strawberries, peppers, broccoli and of course oranges.
- Meats. Athletes and ultra-active individuals are keenly aware of the need for protein in muscle growth and development. Instead of loading up on those rich (and often expensive or fattening) energy bars or shakes, get protein naturally through 100% pure red meat, eggs, poultry, and fish.
- Breakfast Items. If you can jump-start each day on the right path, it could help your muscles recover faster. First, milk and yogurt are filled with protein, but also calcium, which contributes to muscle repairs. Pour milk on some fortified cereal, especially those with zinc, which helps heal wounds by pairing with nutrients that repair damaged bodily tissue.
Body Rollers and Personal Massage Aid
Rubbing down sore muscles, sure can feel good after a hard workout or exertive sports performance. Yet, not everyone can get to or afford a visit to a personal massage therapist. Luckily, products are now available to do it yourself.
Foam body rollers have been around for a while and are simple options to loosen the fascia, a tissue layer outside of muscles. Fascia tightened by workouts can cause soreness that some people think is from muscles. For some people, body rollers help alleviate this.
In recent years, technological advances introduced innovations like massage guns – hand-held electrical devices used to pound or knead out muscle pain by yourself. Sometimes linked with terms like vibration therapy or percussive therapy, or called percussion managers, these power tool-like instruments have become more popular, especially during the pandemic when massage therapist visits are forbidden. Massage guns are easy to use, and some say they can be as effective as in-person massages.
Supplemental Vitamins and Herbs for Muscle Recovery
A great range of pill-form supplements can aid muscle recovery. Without suggesting a brand, here are some products to look for:
- Omega-3 fish oil. This is known for controlling cholesterol, fish oil also is a strong anti-inflammatory that helps reduce muscle soreness.
- CoQ10. This vital antioxidant gaining popularity for its cardiovascular health promotion. It can combat muscle fatigue and manage inflammation.
- Glutamine. Long a go-to for joint pain, this amino acid helps your body process carbohydrates post-exercise.
- Turmeric. In recent years more healthy-eating experts have touted this herbal remedy for inflammation, with its strong anti-inflammatory element curcumin.
Pain-Relief Straight from a Pill
We’re not talking about dangerous drugs here, but simply the simple over-the-counter pain relief products, especially those designed to reduce inflammation. Take ibuprofen to reduce swelling or naproxen to do the same with a bit more pain-relief power. Avoid acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is geared more for headaches and can be hard on your liver.
Pain relief pills should only be considered to alleviate pain to let you get through the day and back to workouts. It’s probably better to also try the other muscle-recovery options listed above.
Summary: Variety of Products Available to Help Muscles Recover
A variety of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and antioxidants help heal muscles after strenuous workouts or sporting activities. Often the use of certain products, combined with the typical medical advice to elevate and ice sore spots when possible, can expedite your muscle recovery time and get you back to the gym, on the field or court, or on your bike.