Guest blog by Alison Cullen
Before you head out for a workout make sure you stretch properly before. This will let your body prepare for exercise and will also warm you up which is important to avoid muscle soreness and injury as cold muscles mean tense muscles, which can lead to an increase in muscle tear.
Sore muscles are caused by the filaments in muscle fibres tearing and the breakdown of muscle tissue. Don’t panic though, this may sound scary but it’s perfectly normal, it’s just our body’s way of adapting to exercise.
Injury may come about when you’ve suddenly increased your workouts or mileage, which is a common mistake and stresses the importance of pacing yourself and stretching.
Taking on enough fuel for your workout is also important. Avoid eating a hefty meal before training, so that you’re not trying to digest and train at the same time. It’s better to eat a few slices of malt loaf and a banana at least an hour before training, to release energy slowly and keep you going.
Play it safe when working out and listen to your body, keeping an eye on any niggles that crop up. Pain is a signal so find out what it means before carrying on and risking further injury. Always find out what the pain is and why it’s happened so you can take steps to prevent it from happening again.
If you get a stitch while working out the best thing to do is focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths in and out.
To reach optimum fitness, target different muscle groups so you’re working your upper and lower body. Use gentle weights or try boxing programmes to work your upper body and do squats and lunges to strengthen your legs and you’ll find this will make a real difference to your fitness.
When you’ve finished your workout make sure you do gentle, long stretches. This will allow your muscles to recover from the shock you’ve just put it through.
Make sure you eat well post-workout as this can have major benefits on your fitness performance and can be the difference between getting that personal best and hitting the wall.
Eat plenty of magnesium rich foods like nuts, seeds and wholegrains. They will allow your muscles to work efficiently and recover properly.
If you’ve had an intense workout it’s vital to refuel afterwards with good quality protein. Chicken with vegetables and pasta is a good post-workout meal and a tuna and salad sandwich can help you recover after a lunchtime run.
If you find your aching muscles are getting you down, pour yourself a warm bath with some bath salts to help soothe your muscles, or book yourself in for a massage.
Rubbing A.Vogel Atrogel into sore muscles can also help relieve aches and pains caused by workouts. It smells pleasant and is quick drying and can be applied up to four times a day so can be a great alternative to reaching for pain killers.
A.Vogel Atrogel contains Arnica, a herb which, when freshly harvested, is full of lactones. The lactones interrupt the inflammatory process right at its inception, preventing the production of inflammatory chemicals. Well known for its relief for bruising Arnica can also soothe muscular aches, pains and stiffness, and sprains.
A. Vogel Atrogel costs £9.65 for 100ml, and £6.35 for 50ml – click here to purchase from the Nutri Centre.
Alison Cullen is a nutritional consultant at Bioforce UK (A. Vogel).