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Preventing Post Workout Muscle Soreness

Love the workout, hate the post workout soreness? The good news is that there are ways to prevent it! There are two types of workout-related muscle soreness: One that nags at you during or immediately after your workout and one that surprises you a few hours or often days after a particularly strenuous routine.

The muscle soreness that occurs during and immediately after exercise is usually caused by lactic acid, which is a major byproduct of your body’s energy producing system. If you are pushing yourself beyond your limits, the lactic acid floods your muscles. The pain you feel is your body’s way of begging you to please give it a rest! Usually, if you oblige this request, the pain will subside.

The other type of muscle soreness is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, commonly referred to as “DOMS.” This is caused by microscopic muscle fiber tears. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to relieve the discomfort. If there is no swelling present, the hot tub or a warm bath may alleviate muscle tension. However, if you notice any swelling, ice is a better choice.

Slow stretching exercises performed after the activity may also offer relief form the affects of DOMS. Stretching brings blood flow to the sore areas, which speeds up the healing process. If you have access to a foam roller or a Body Rolling Ball, these products combine the benefits of stretching and massage. Of, course, of you can afford a massage that is the optimal choice.

Recent studies performed by Dr. Jennifer Sacheck, of Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts indicate that taking Vitamin E may aid in the relief of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. However, these findings are still under scrutiny. Other people have found relief from ibuprofen, commonly known as “Vitamin I.”

The nutritional information regarding DOMS is so controversial that it can make you dizzy. However, an interesting study was recently conducted at the University of Iowa. Marine recruits form six different platoons were assigned to one of three treatment protocols during a 54 day of basic training period. Each day after exercise, one group of Marines received a placebo drink containing 0 calories, another received a control drink contain 8 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fat, and a third group received a drink that contained 8 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fat.

According to the researchers "Compared to placebo and control groups, the protein supplemented group had an average of 33% fewer total medical visits, 28% fewer visits due to bacterial/viral infections, 37% fewer visits due to muscle/joint problems, and 83% fewer visits due to heat exhaustion."

Additionally, "Muscle soreness immediately post-exercise was reduced by protein supplementation versus placebo and control groups on both days 34 and 54."

This new evidence might suggest that athletes in heavy training will achieve a faster level of recovery if they consume a carbohydrate-protein liquid supplement immediately following each workout. Of course, as in any form of research, more studies are needed to prove this theory.

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