Health experts recommend we spend around 30 mins a day doing some form of exercise. However, it is also important that we take additional time to stretch and properly after a workout. Read on to learn about why muscle recovery is important and the best practices for optimal muscle recovery.
What is Muscle Recovery and Why is it Important?
Post-workout recovery is a crucial phase for muscle growth yet often overlooked. The post-workout muscle recovery phase lasts for 24 to 72 hours after a workout and it is during this time that your body repairs and strengthens muscles.
Three Categories of Muscle Recovery
- Immediate recovery that takes place while exercising in between reps
- Short-term recovery that happens between sets
- Training recovery which takes place in between workouts, which this article will focus on.
Muscle recovery is essential to avoid the negative consequences of overtraining as well as to maximize the benefits gained from working out.
Why Does Post-Workout Muscle Soreness Occur?
You might feel sore after exercising because your muscles are being exposed to something new or a stress that they’re not used to. The acute muscular stress causes small-scale damage to the muscle fibers, which we usually feel anywhere from 24-72 hours after exercise. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness and occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric or a lengthening contraction. This soreness is a part of the body’s process of repairing the muscle damage. This repair process increases the strength and thickness of the affected muscle fibers, allowing our muscles to get stronger.
How to prevent post workout muscle soreness
While there are many ways to help the muscle recovery process after you exercise, there are also steps you can take before your workout to help limit post workout muscle soreness.
Fuel up Your Body with the Proper Nutrients
Protein contains amino acids which are essential to our body’s ability to repair tissue and muscle. Inadequate protein intake leads to the body taking protein from its own muscles, ultimately decreasing the amount of muscle a person has. Ensuring our body’s are getting enough protein is essential to muscle recovery. Eating the proper nutrients also means eating easily digestible food before a workout to speed up nutrient absorption.
Movement Coach, Emma Obayuvana @emmaoba_
Stay Hydrated While you Exercise
Water keeps your body hydrated and in a healthy state. It also transports nutrients through your body that give you energy. If you are not getting enough water, it becomes more difficult for the body to function at its highest level and recover effectively. Hydration is essential to our body’s ability to recover post-workout.
Do a Pre-Workout Stretch Routine
In order to maximize the benefits from recovery, stretching before exercise should make the muscles more pliable and less likely to tear. Research has found that those who stretch before and after workouts will likely experience less muscle soreness after they exercise.
The 2 types of Muscle Recovery Methods
There are two types of muscle recovery which we can partake in, one that requires relaxation and one that requires physical effort.
1. Passive Recovery/Sleep
Passive recovery involves resting for an extended period after strenuous exercise or physical activity. This entails avoiding activity that puts further strain on your muscles and joints. Therefore during passive recovery, your body is allowed undisturbed rest to repair muscle damage. Techniques like sleeping well, eating right, massages, foam rolling, and cold showers are all examples of passive recovery.
Some of the benefits of passive recovery include:
- Boosting muscle recovery by giving your body time to recuperate,
- Improved sleep,
- Reduced risk of injury
- Relaxation of the mind and body
- Avoiding muscle weariness and negative effects of overtraining.
2. Active Recovery
Active recovery involves carrying out low-intensity exercise following a strenuous workout. Examples include walking, yoga, and swimming.
Some of the benefits of active recovery include:
- Lower lactic acid build up in muscles,
- Eliminating toxins
- Increasing blood flow to the muscles
- maintain muscle flexibility, reduce soreness and improve blood flow.
5 Ways to Speed up Muscle Recovery
1. Use a Muscle Rub, Muscle Drops or Muscle Tablets
Muscle rubs are used to treat minor aches and pains of the muscles/joints. Cannabotech’s muscle rub utilizes a special blend of CBD oil and medicinal mushrooms muscle rub for optimal pain relief. It does this by relaxing the muscles, reducing swelling, increasing oxygen flow and reducing inflammation. It can be used for localized treatment of injuries such as sprains, strains and tendon disorders. For oral treatment of musculoskeletal injury or soreness, you can turn to Cannabotech’s ingestible tablets and drops. Both products contain Cannabotech's unique blend of CBD and mushrooms which improve your body’s stamina and supercharge your post workout recovery. The tablets contain magnesium which is known to help with muscle recovery & to loosen tight muscles. The drops contain lavender oil and chamomile. Lavender oil can act as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory and chamomile has pain relieving and antispasmodic properties. They can be used to treat both post workout injuries as well as muscular overuse injuries such as carpal tunnel, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome. After taking either both of these products taken just once or twice a day, you will feel your muscles begin to unwind and relax. These products can be consumed alongside use of a muscle rub for optimal results.
2. Fuel Your Body with the Proper Nutrients
Fueling up before your workout is important and so is ensuring your body has the proper nutrients afterwards. Nutrients help our body repair itself, so eating a healthy diet with nutrients such as protein, fiber and vitamin C are important factors in muscle recovery.
3. Using Foam Rollers
Foam rolling has a range of benefits such as easing muscle pain to reduce post-workout muscle soreness, increasing your range of motion and enabling your body to relax. Foam rolling takes just a few minutes and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
4. Heat Therapy
Heat therapy works by improving blood flow and circulation to the treatment area which allows for oxidation of the muscles and faster muscle recovery. Heat therapy has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and improve mobility and performance following workouts. No need for fancy equipment - heat therapy can be done at home using heating pads.
5. Epsom Salt Baths
When added to water, epsom salt breaks down into two minerals - magnesium and sulfate. Although there isn't much scientific research determining that epsom salt baths actually allow the body to absorb magnesium, many find the baths beneficial to muscle recovery. Magnesium is known to ease muscle cramping and help muscles relax.
CBD Oil for Muscle Recovery
CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties that work within the endocannabinoid system. These properties also support muscle recovery and prevent muscle soreness. A study in the International Journal of Physical Education, Sports and Health found that trained athletes who took CBD post-workout recovered more quickly and also reported significantly less muscle soreness at 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours post-workout. The results found that the CBD appeared to have a significant influence on muscle soreness when consumed immediately after strenuous exercise. In addition to relieving muscle soreness, CBD can improve the quality of sleep. CBD aids sleep and sleep aids muscle recovery, furthering the benefits of CBD to muscle recovery.
Medicinal Mushrooms for Muscle Recovery
Medicinal mushrooms contain all kinds of benefits to muscle recovery. They act as a relaxant, anti-inflammatory, pain-reliever, reduce fatigue, increase energy and performance, reduce swelling, and aid joint conditions and arthritis. Each of Cannabotech’s muscle recovery products are designed with a specific combination of medicinal mushrooms for optimal recovery and minimal pain. For example, the unwind tablets contain a combination of chaga, cordyceps and reishi mushrooms. These mushrooms are known to act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-fatigue to alleviate joint and muscle pain while also increasing energy levels.