Don't let sore muscle be a pain in your butt, legs, arms, or core! Here are five ways to relieve sore muscles:
1) Take an Ice Bath - Ice baths are a classic strategy that athletes use to speed muscle recovery. It may not be the most pleasant of experiences, but you can't deny the results. Mensfitness.com says, "An ice bath will immediately reduce swelling while flushing lactic acid out of your body. When you sit in an ice bath — or when you rub a cup of ice on the muscles you just trained — the cold causes your blood vessels to tighten. This helps drain the lactic acid out of your tired muscles. When you get out of the bath, your muscle tissue warms back up, causing a return of oxygenated blood to help your muscles recover." Try adding a big bowl of ice to your cold bath and submerging your lower half for 10-15 minutes after your next hard workout.
2) Use a Foam Roller - A foam roller is an inexpensive piece of equipment (about $20-30) and is a great alternative to getting a regular massage. A recent article titled, "What does foam rolling actually do?" says, "Foam rolling helps smooth out these obstructions [from working out] and break down adhesions, helping to increase blood-flow within the muscle." Even five to ten minutes of foam rolling will give you the same effects of a massage and speed your recovery.
3) Get a Massage - In addition to foam rolling, it is also good to get a massage every few weeks if your financial situation allows. Massage has been proven as an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. Groupon is a great way to find good deals on massage centers near you.
4) Eat Cherries - One of the tastiest ways to relieve sore muscles is by eating dark cherries or blueberries. Menshealth.com says that "dark-pigmented foods packed with anthocyanins work to speed oxygen via the blood, reduce muscle inflammation, minimize post-workout pain and boost recovery." Try eating a handful or two after your workouts!
5) Rest - One of the last and most important ways to relieve sore muscles is through sleep. An article on http://swolept.com/ about the benefits of sleep says, "sleep also enhances muscular recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release. Getting eight to ten hours of quality sleep every night will promote these factors as well as general well being. Recovery will take a step backwards if you do not prioritize sleep, so get to sleep if you want to grow." Try not watching TV or working on your computer while in bed, because electronic advices will stimulate your brain and keep you awake.
Many of us have heard on the news and in mass media that olive oil is a healthy fat, full of Omega-3 fats. You may have even heard the new hype that coconut oil is the king of oils, because of its higher burn rate that prevents the release of free radicals while cooking. However, using any kind of oil in your cooking or baking is extremely unhealthy no matter what its burn rate level is.
To begin with, oil has tons of calories and fat with none of the fiber, minerals, and vitamins that whole foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olives have when eaten in their natural states. One chef, Lindsay Nixon actually noticed that one tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil has the same amount of fat as a snickers bar (14%)! Furthermore, Miss Nixon says, a snickers bar is probably healthier, because it provides more nutrients like protein and carbs than olive oil. (Don’t take this as advice to eat a snickers bar. Its just as example of how olive oil and other oils are hyped up as healthy fats when they really aren’t.)
To add onto that, many people have heard in mass media that processed foods are bad for us and that is correct. However, what the media fails to inform you when preaching that olive and coconut oil are healthy for you is that all plant oils are processed foods! Kate Murry, in her article, “Why Olive Oil Is Not As Healthy As You Think” says that, “Vegetable oils, including sunflower, safflower, and yes, olive oil, are typically refined under heat and pressure. This process of partial hydrogenation is what changes the molecular structure of the oil, damages the omega-3 fats, and produces eruct acid and trans-fats during this refining process.” Amazing! So all those healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fats that we think we are getting when we use oil is probably damaged before we even begin to cook or bake with it.
The Pritikin Longevity Center’s article, “The Truth About Olive Oil,” also corrects the myth that extra virgin olive oil is good for you. The Longeviy Center says that the media hypes up that extra virgin olive oil is especially heart healthy, because it is rich in polyphenols; however, the truth is that all plant foods are rich in polyphenols and are less calorie dense. The Pritikin Longevity Center uses the example that 11 calories of lettuce has the same amount of polyphenols as 1tbsp of olive oil (30mg). Why waste all those empty calories when you could get even more polyphenols for your heart only eating a small amount of delicious whole foods like a salad everyday!?
So what can you substitute for oils in your cooking and baking? An article on fitday.com recommends replacing oil in your baking with unsweetened applesauce, banana puree, mango puree, or pumpkin puree. For cooking, Bo Rinaldi, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Low-Fat Vegan Cooking, suggests using the equivalent amount of vegetable stock that the recipe calls for in oil.
In conclusion, no oil is a healthy fat and in general all fat should be enjoyed sparingly according to Health.gov and the American Heart Association. If you are looking to get healthy fats in your diet then eat whole foods like avocados, nuts, olives and seeds.
Many people focus on the cardio and strength aspects of their workout routines, but daily stretching is also critical to your overall health and fitness regime. Stretching increases your flexibility, circulation, and range of motion. It also relieves stress and tension in your muscles by releasing endorphins, relaxing your muscles, and calming your mind. The image below contains several examples of stretches that can be done at work, home or in the gym.
Try to make it your goal to spend at least 5-10 minutes per day stretching.
Image from http://www.custudentloans.org/2013/08/05/make-the-stretch-during-busy-season-at-the-office-of-financial-aid/
This Fit Tip Friday we encourage you all to plant your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. You don't need a lot of land to garden! If you cannot make one at your own house or apartment, try growing some plants inside or joining a community garden here in Chicago.
There are so many benefits to gardening. First off, the stretching, weeding, digging, etc. that happens during gardening get your blood flowing and uses your muscles. While you will still need to get your daily workout in, but gardening offers a low impact supplement to your workout regime.
Second, your will eat a lot healthier. Just growing your own vegetables and fruits and then having them on hand will help you to make wise eating choices.
Third, some studies show that gardening helps to control cortisol, the stress hormone, along with anxiety and depression.
So let's all return to nature this spring and get our hands in the dirt!
Today's Fit Tip is to drink more healthy beverages. Some examples of healthy beverages and their benefits are:
Today is our first Fit Tip Friday. Today's tip is to have active rest days compared to taking full days off from working out. Active rest means that you are moving your body with a low-intensity activity, but not pushing yourself like in your normal workouts. Active rest decreases the amount of lactic acid in our bodies, speeds up muscle recovery and helps to keep our minds focused on our personal health and fitness journeys. Below are a few examples of things to do on your next active rest day.
2) Walk your dog
3) Go for a relaxing bike ride
4) Play Frisbee
5) Jump on a trampoline
6) Go for a swim
7) Go sailing
8) Play a match of volleyball
9) Give yourself a foam roller massage
10) Go rollerblading
Your EFC Fit Fam team wishes you a happy Friday and a fit weekend!
EFC staff. We want to share our fitness knowledge with you!