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First I want you to all know that I am not in the medical profession, I am simply sharing with you what works for me to ease my muscles after a hard workout.
Lately I have been enjoying a 45 minute kick fit class followed by a 45 minute strength class and sometimes I wrap it up with a 30 minute HIT class. Yes I know that sounds insane and what is even more insane is that I love it!
These long workouts as well as my weekly long run were leaving me pretty sore though until I tried out a few methods that seem to be helping me recover faster
1. The Stick
Let me introduce you to my favorite tool for easing muscle pain. Basically it is a stick with these plastic rings on it that you rub up and down over you muscles. It loosens tight muscles up in mere moments.
2. Epsom salt
After a long strength workout I like to fill the bath with warm water and 1 full heaping cup of epsom salt and soak for 30 minutes to an hour. It really helps.
I found this quote at LiveStrong.com that explains why Epsom salt works
Magnesium is a primary component of Epsom salt. It is a mineral that the body needs and, unlike other minerals, is absorbed through the skin as you soak in the bath. The mineral helps relax skeletal muscles by flushing lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which may occur during physical exertion, such as a vigorous workout.
3. Ice baths
Okay I am not fond of this method at all but it really does help after my long runs. I can never bring myself to actually get into a cold bath so what I do is take our removable shower head off its clip, turn on just the cold water and then shower my leg muscles with it for as long as I can stand it.
When I read into this methods some research say it can help and others say it doesn’t do anything. I also found out you are suppose to submerge your sore muscles for 10 to 20 minutes. Way longer than I have been able to stand, but I do find that I get some immediate relief when I ice “shower” my legs
4. Compression Wear
I once had to wear these for a varicose vein that I eventually had removed. At that time you had a choice of black or nude, no cute prints like these ones. Being a Thrifty gal though I still wear my black ones from my varicose vein days under my pants. I find if I slip them on fresh out of the shower after a long run they really do help my calf muscles recover faster. I am noticing more and more runners wearing them during half marathons and full marathons and I am thinking I might join them (with a pair paid for using Swagbucks of course 🙂 )
I read a few articles on compression socks to help me figure out why runner’s wear them. I found this on the runner’s world website.
Previously found on the legs of diabetics and airplane pilots, compression socks have been making their way onto plenty of runners lately. Perhaps that’s because they’ve been shown in studies to stimulate blood flow, helping legs recover faster from a hard run.
4 Walk it, swim it or bike it out
My best marathon to date was after a season where I hopped in the pool after each long run and swam laps for 20 minutes. I found it really helped me avoid muscle stiffness. I searched the web and can’t really find anyone who supports my findings but I did find a forum where people were saying it would be similar to taking an ice bath for your muscles as lap pool water tends to be on the cool side, so perhaps this is why it worked for me.
I have found though that some marathon training guides suggest either a long walk or bike ride the day following your longest run, or even the evening of your longest run. These exercises use different muscles and help keep you limber.
5. Ginger Tea
I found several sources around the internet that state that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which are good for easing the pain of over worked muscles. I tried it out a few weeks back and I am hooked. I get a cup brewing (it says it needs a full 10 minutes to brew) while I take my post workout shower. The flavor took a bit getting use too (I don’t sweeten mine at all).
You can make your own using ginger root from the store, but I buy The Traditional Medicinals brand.
Now that I know it works I might look further into making it myself, but honestly most recipes say it takes 20 minutes or longer so the tea bags do seem quicker.
7. Ice packs
Often the next day just one set of muscles will be aching and that is when I turn to ice packs. I use a bag of frozen peas and carrots placed inside a ziploc bag and wrapped in a hand towel but considering my husband tried to feed it to us at dinner one night (thankfully I figured out what happened before we tasted them all saving us from freezer burn taste) I am now considering trying to make one using something that does not resemble food at all.
Why doesn’t my list include Ibuprofen? It bugs my tummy.
How do you ease sore muscles without Ibuprofen?
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