November 24, 2013 at 11:53 pm #832
Everybody’s familiar with that day-after feeling when you’ve trained too hard and you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck. There are, fortunately, many ways to prevent this from happening, and for dealing with it once it does.
1. Don’t go all-out in the first place. This is a tough one, especially when you’re at a jam and having fun with all these great parkour and freerunning practitioners and don’t want to quit. However, be mindful of how much is too much, and don’t feel bad about stopping before everyone else if you’re getting too tired. Listen to your body. If you’re tired or already starting to get sore, it’s time to stop.
2. Warming up. (Not to be confused with stretching.) Getting your muscles accustomed to moving with smaller exercises, like a few jumping jacks or laps of QM, before attempting huge jumps and big obstacles is helpful. Your muscles are more limber and less likely to tear in painful ways when they’re warmed up.
3. Stretching and cool-down. This one has been hotly debated in scientific and exercise communities, but most evidence comes down on the side of stretching after a work-out (but not before), in order to loosen up after a vigorous training session, and light cool-down exercises to help your body transition from work-out mode to rest mode.
4. Hydration and nutrition. Drink plenty of water and eat foods rich in protein, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids after a workout. Some people also recommend vitamin C.
Dealing with soreness:
1. Hydration, nutrition, and sleep. After a tough training session, your muscles are full of microscopic tears, which the body then rebuilds, which is what makes your muscles stronger when you exercise. In the meantime, though, you’ll be sore, because essentially, any sore muscle is actually an injured muscle, and your body needs protein, water, other nutrients, and rest, in order to properly heal. Make sure you can get a full night’s sleep after a tough workout, and if you can, take a nap the following day as well.
2. Exercise. Wait, what? Isn’t that what caused my soreness in the first place? Well, yes, it is, but…if you don’t move at all when you’re sore, you’ll just get stiff and take longer to feel better. It’s important to do easy, small exercises, like going for a walk or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, the day after a big jam. These small exercises help nutrients move through joints and muscles and get more quickly to where they need to go in order to do all that healing. Make sure not to go too crazy, though, or you’ll just wear yourself out and get injured and even more sore, and slow your body’s healing process.
3. Drugs. Not the bad kind, obviously. Taking any pain reliever like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or aspirin will help with the pain short-term. Take care not to use them regularly, though, because long-term use of NSAIDS can decrease your body’s ability to heal itself. If you’re in a position where you’re taking pain medication every day for soreness in the first place, it may be time to re-evaluate your level of training or consult a doctor to make sure you’re not doing permanent damage to your body.
4. Foam-rolling or massage. Physically working out the knots in your body with a foam roller, or by massage, will help a bit with soreness. Plus, it’s relaxing and feels great.
5. Heat and ice. Many doctors recommend ice shortly after soreness begins, in order to reduce inflammation, and then heat later on in order to increase bloodflow to the area to aid in healing.
Hopefully this helps some of you feel better, and maybe prevents you from feeling as bad in the first place. Feel free to chime in with your own tips that have helped you prevent or overcome soreness.
Also, here are some links that helped me pull this post together:
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