How to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

Working out can leave you feeling a little sore the next day. While a little soreness is nothing to be concerned about, it can also prevent you from really putting in 100% in your next session. If you are wondering help speed up the muscle recovery process so that you can fit and ready for the gym the next day, here are some tools that you can use and their benefits.

7 Tips to Speed Up the Muscle Recovery Process

Cool Down & Stretching

You should never skip your cool down following a gym workout. There are many advantages to cooling down and stretching, and one of them is helping to reduce muscle fatigue.

During your workout, your heart rate would have increased, so your cool down gives it time for your heart to return to its normal state at a more regulated pace. This will reduce the release of lactic acid (which is released during exercise).

More oxygen is circulated around the body, relaxing the muscles. The time you take to cool down is hence so critical to helping speed up the muscle recovery process.

Foam Rolling

A common sight at the gym is people using foam rollers before and after a workout. A foam roller aids in myofascial release; it helps to loosen the muscles and joints while also increasing mobility.

With foam rolling, you release muscle tension, especially if this is done after a gym workout. This is an alternative to a massage, where you can do it yourself. One advantage of this is that you can really focus on areas that are sore for you and spend a bit more time foam rolling there.

If you feel a knot or sore area, try to hold the foam roller over it for a bit long, or even roll back and forth in that space.

Releasing this tension means that you are also promoting better blood and oxygen circulation around the body. This will ultimately help to speed up the muscle recovery process and decrease DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Massages

Massages are a great muscle recovery tool. While once-off massages are useful, to really reap the benefits, it is best to receive regular massages. Long-term use helps to relieve muscle tension, preventing the risk of injuries.

Other advantages of massages include:
– Gets the blood flow moving around the body by dilating the blood vessels, bettering blood circulation
– Loosens muscles, hence increasing range of motion

Dry Needling

Another option to speed up the muscle recovery process is through dry needling. If you are scared of needles, however, maybe it is best to avoid this one.

Dry needling consists of a very thin needle penetrating through the skin to hit a specific trigger point such as a muscle knot. You know when you have hit a trigger point when you feel resistance or a twitch. Once the unhealthy muscle tissue is pinpointed, you use the needle to gently manipulate the area before removing it. This process is repeated several times.

So what is the benefit of dry needling?

Dry needling helps to speed up muscle and tissue recovery. With that twitch or resistance you feel, it sends a signal to the brain to start repairing that damaged area. This will help to restore normal tissue function.

Not only that but dry needling decreases inflammation while also increasing circulation around the body.

Sauna

The sauna is passive heat therapy. If your gym has a sauna, definitely take advantage of it so that you can speed up the muscle recovery process.

The sauna is a room that is heated, which helps the body emulate the effects of moderate exercise. You may feel your heart rate slightly increase and you will most definitely sweat. Not only that, you will also feel your muscles relax.

What the heat does in the sauna, is encourage the waste buildup from your muscles and joints (from exercise) to go to the surface of the skin. This then disappears as sweat.

Not only that, a sauna increases the flow of blood around your body. This means that your muscles are provided with more oxygen, helping in muscle recovery.

By heading to the sauna after a good workout, you will loosen your muscles, which will help to alleviate some of the soreness you may potentially experience.

Cryotherapy

A fitness trend gaining more traction the past few years is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is when you go into a chamber for approximately 3 minutes in sub-zero temperatures. The point of this is to provide a safer and healthier alternative to the typical ‘ice bath’ that athletes and gym goers use to speed up the muscle recovery process.

Compared to the ice bath that promotes muscle stiffness, cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to submit the body to cold temperatures without stiffening the muscles or damaging the skin.

The benefits of this post-workout recovery tool are to alleviate inflammation, pain and soreness. It aids in discharging toxins from the tissues and directs blood flow to your vital organs, improving circulation. This is a big reason why so many pro athletes, like Lebron James, are actually putting cryotherapy tanks in their own homes.

Eat, Sleep and Hydrate

Along with these tools, basic functions such as eating and sleeping well and making sure you stay hydrated can really aid in the muscle recovery process.

A post-workout meal that is protein-rich can promote faster muscle repair and growth. Sleeping well at night gives your body the proper time it needs to rest and recover while staying hydrated can ensure that your bodily functions and organs are all performing at its optimum level.

Hopefully, you would have found one or more ways to help speed up the muscle recovery process in this article. While some should be mandatory after a workout session, such as cooling down and stretching, others like cryotherapy may be new territory. Try out different options to see which ones give you the better muscle relief so that you can head back to the gym feeling 100%.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community.

What other tools or therapy do you use to help speed up the muscle recovery process? Which ones on this list have you found to be the most effective for you? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

Everything You Need to Know about Plantar Fasciitis

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Foot pain, especially plantar fasciitis, can be a difficult condition to deal with if not treated correctly. It can prevent people from doing simple tasks such as walking or getting around. Worse, sometimes you cannot even be sure where exactly the pain is coming from. Or, what is causing it, especially if you do not recall going through a painful injury. This happened to me recently. One day I was running and a day or two later, I was having trouble putting weight on my right foot.

Another important issue with foot pain that many do not realize is it can affect your posture and gait. The longer any foot injury persists, the greater the likelihood that you’ll have issues some where else, like your back.

Among the many causes of foot pain, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common. Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia. This includes the long ligament that joins the heel at the back of your foot with your toes.

Plantar fascia is also responsible for supporting the arch of your foot, this enables the foot to support your bodyweight. Hence, any problems with this area of your foot could impact the ability of your foot to do its job.

Here is everything you need to know about plantar fasciitis.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Similar to other joints and muscles, the purpose of plantar fascia is to support the foot muscles and absorb stress. Hence, if the stress becomes too much, the plantar fascia will start to develop small tears. This, in turn, can lead to inflammation as a result of the body’s natural response to such injuries, thereby resulting in the development of plantar fasciitis. Although plantar fasciitis usually occurs for no specific reason, some factors can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

These include having high foot arches, wearing high heels frequently, and spending long hours each day standing. Athletes are also at higher risk of plantar fasciitis due to the repetitive, high-impact motions that come with running or jumping.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

The symptom of plantar fasciitis that is easiest to observe is a sharp pain in the heel of the foot, particularly when you take your first steps after having been lying down or seated for a prolonged period of time. If this happens to you quite regularly, it is best to see a specialist right away.

When you make an appointment, the doctor will immediately ask you about your symptoms and perform a checkup to determine where the pain in your feet is coming from. To be sure of the cause, you may then have to undergo different tests.

These include an X-ray, MRI or other imaging tests to rule out other possible causes, such as arthritis or fractures.

How Can It Be Treated?

Treatment of plantar fasciitis is actually quite simple and does not require surgery. Typically, a doctor will prescribe that you ice the area and avoid any activities that might increase the pain, such as sports and exercise. The doctor may also prescribe you some anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation and resulting pain.

Eventually, you may be advised to practice some physical therapy exercises and stretches to strengthen your leg and foot muscles to prevent another occurrence of plantar fasciitis. You may also be asked to wear more supportive shoes or to use sole inserts for better cushioning as you walk and run. Finally, get in the habit of using a foam roller targeting the lower body especially the calf area. Tight muscles and restricted fascia, if not addressed, can eventually lead to foot issues.

With proper lifestyle habits and medical advice, you should be able to fully recover from plantar fasciitis and prevent it from ever recurring. If you feel any symptoms, it is best to seek a professional’s opinion straight away for the quickest relief and recovery.

Try the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Four Dynamic Stretches You Need To Be Doing Regularly

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Think about a few of the dynamic stretches you typically like to use. Now picture stretching a rubber band for a moment. Take hold of both ends of that imaginary band and simply pull. The size and thickness of the band allows you to stretch it only so far. The rubber band in this case could be either your connective tissue or a muscle. Let’s choose a muscle. One more thing I want you to do. Place that rubber band in your freezer for a few minutes. Take it out and try to pull both ends again and stretch it if you can. That’s right, you can’t. A cold rubber band has limited range of motion and is now stiff in the same way a cold muscle would be before it gets warmed up.

Many of us though, never allow extra time to dynamically warm-up a muscle or group of muscles prior to using them in a strength or cardio workout. Both our muscular and nervous systems perform significantly better when they are put through a series of dynamic warm-up exercises. This should be long enough to promote a light sweat prior to a workout or any athletic event. Our muscles and nerves “fire” and perform much better when warmed up compared to when they’re stiff and cold, like the example of the rubber band.

Do Muscle Perform Better in the Morning or Afternoon?

Many of us exercise in the early morning and if you’re one of those people, it’s even more important to make time to warm-up. Our muscles are typically weaker during the morning and gradually increase in strength throughout the day. The body’s muscles reach peak strength sometime around early evening. Knowing this and the fact that it takes a few hours from when you wake-up to “turn on” and fully activate our neuromuscular system; a warm-up using dynamic stretches becomes even more important to do.

Muscles Have Less Chance of Injury When Warm-up

There is research that shows a warm-up may be beneficial in terms of helping prevent injuries, as this 2012 review showed when looking at knee injuries. A well thought out and planned dynamic warm-up increases power, flexibility, range of motion and helps balance; and as we’ve said, may help reduce injuries. In a study of female college soccer players, non-contact ACL injuries were cut in half among players who followed a warm-up program that included dynamic stretching exercises. In a second study of college athletes, this time with golf, researchers at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania found golfers were nine times less likely to be injured if they warmed-up dynamically before they played.

Here are four easy-to-do dynamic stretches that you can start doing before you exercise.

INCHWORM

  • Begin in a standing position with your legs together.
  • Bend at the waist until both hands are flat on the ground (bend knees if needed).
  • “Walk out” forward with hands until back is almost fully extended and you’re basically in a plank position.
  • Maintain a strong, “engaged” core.
  • Keeping legs straight, inch feet towards hands.
  • Then walk hands out forward away from feet.
  • Repeat 5 times.

SCORPION

  • Lie prone (on stomach) with arms outstretched, palms down and feet flexed so only toes are touching ground.
  • Kick right foot toward left arm, return to start and then kick left foot toward right arm.
  • Do not force anything – follow your breath and relax as you perform the movement.
  • Begin slowly and repeat 5 times to each side.

HIP SWING (Hip Abduction/Adduction)

  • Face a solid wall placing both hands on the wall, keeping arms extended.
  • Start with feet pointed straight and hip-width apart.
  • Move the right leg away from the body (abduction) the swing back in front of the body
  • Keep the leg fully extended and foot straight during the movement.
  • Repeat on the opposite.
  • Perform 5-6 repetitions on each side.

TOY SOLDIER

  • Begin with feet shoulder-width and toes pointing straight.
  • Maintain a tall posture and engaged core.
  • Flex one leg upward like you were kicking a ball.
  • Have the arms extended and straight out in front of the body.
  • Attempt to kick to the height of the extended arms (if possible).
  • Return and try on the opposite side as though you were marching.
  • Move forward with each step as you kick.
  • It’s important that the core muscles are engaged throughout.
  • Perform 5-6 repetitions with each leg.

Adding these four dynamic stretches is a good start. There are hundreds of different dynamic stretches available that you can find online. Making the extra time before your workout will better prepare the body for the upcoming workout. Stay Strong!

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