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DUBAI: Former Dubai-based professional rugby player and current fitness trainer Nino Barbu, who has a master’s degree in athletic performance, explains the process of easing muscle stiffness that occurs after intense training. If you’re planning on hitting the gym for the 2022 kickoff, be sure to follow these expert tips.

Over the past few decades, fitness and health experts have tried to find a way to explain or cure the muscle aches typically experienced after intense training.

The bad news is that no complete cure has been found, but the good news is that exercise physiologists have discovered methods that can ease the symptoms of muscle pain.

Researchers have found that as muscle temperature rises, blood flow increases, delivering fresh oxygen and healing nutrients to the painful area. (Shutterstock)

What is Muscle Pain or Delayed Onset Muscle Pain also known as DOMS?

Experts describe it as a progressively increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after activity, and it’s perfectly normal and just indicates that the muscles are adjusting to your fitness program. The slight muscle tension during exertion creates microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. Scientists believe that this damage, along with the inflammation that accompanies these tears, is the cause of the symptoms.

Here are some tips to reduce these symptoms …

Elongation

Stretching is one of the most underrated remedies and it is best done right after a workout during the recovery period. If you don’t know how to stretch the muscles you’ve worked, find inspiration on the internet where there are plenty of resources to guide you.

Apply heat

Brigham Young University in Utah has researched the use of heat remedies to treat muscle pain. Researchers have found that as muscle temperature rises, blood flow increases, delivering fresh oxygen and healing nutrients to the painful area.

Ice baths

Ice baths or cold showers can also relieve symptoms because they lower the temperature of damaged tissue and constrict blood vessels. This helps reduce swelling and inflammation, and even numbs nerve endings, usually providing immediate relief. Ice baths can also help your central nervous system by making it easier to sleep and, therefore, making you feel better by reducing fatigue. They can be done after each workout at intervals of 3 to 6 minutes. To maximize the benefits of cold therapy, combine it with hot therapy (hot shower or sauna). The recommended routine for an athlete would be three rounds alternating three minutes of hot shower or sauna with three minutes of cold shower or ice bath.

Anti-inflammatory treatment

A natural anti-inflammatory compound is curcumin. Research suggests that curcumin may help in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. It can also help manage exercise-induced inflammation and muscle pain, improving recovery and subsequent performance in active people. Talk to your doctor about other anti-inflammatory treatments if you want to take the allopathic route.

Rest

In more severe DOMS cases, the best solution might be to give your muscles a chance to heal on their own and repair themselves. Ideally, skipping any type of high-intensity cardio or weight training session is recommended if you experience pain, which can only worsen and delay recovery.

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