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10 min read

Holistic Ways to Enhance Muscle Recovery

Relying on tried and true holistic methods to help your muscles recover from a heavy workout will help you maintain strength and flexibility while easing any discomfort that lingers. Using these muscle-nurturing methods will keep you primed and ready for the next workout or the next adventure. Being kind to your body is not a sign of weakness; it’s the most effective way to keep your muscles healthy for the long haul, day after day, rep after rep.

Naturally-Derived Ways to Assist Muscle Recovery

Even if you are no stranger to the gym, you need to let your muscles recover. Naturally-derived methods are techniques that you can use on a regular basis to help overcome occasional inflammation from exercise and exertion without creating any kind of dependency. They are gentle but powerful, simple but effective, and can easily be incorporated into your workout routine whether you are a seasoned pro, weekend warrior, or just getting started

Stretching

As most workouts tighten the muscles as they tone, stretching is probably the most common approach and a likely place to start. Light stretching as a part of your warm-up before your exercise routine can keep muscle groups from becoming overly tight and help maintain flexibility. 

After your workout or even the next day, if you are feeling typical soreness, stretching can help to lengthen your muscle tissues and loosen any tight attachment sites where repetitive motions can result in increased tension. Although you don’t need any special equipment to stretch your muscles, you can add special tools to assist you in your stretching routine. Foam rollers, resistance bands, and exercise balls can be useful and can even make stretching more effective and enjoyable.

massage therapist working with an athlete

Massage

Massage therapy is a primo way to move common soreness out of the muscle tissues and may also help reduce occasional exercise-induced inflammation. It helps to soothe the nerves and can even encourage the affected muscle fibers to produce more mitochondria in the cells, resulting in a cascade of benefits for post-workout recovery. Massaging also helps to promote circulation, which brings blood and oxygen to the area, helping the body in cleaning up and repairing everyday wear and tear on cells and muscle tissues. 

You can go to a sports massage therapist if you are in training for athletic competitions or if you have really specific needs, but any kind of licensed massage therapist should be helpful. Don’t underestimate the free and readily available possibility of learning to massage your own muscles to help you recover after a workout. Of course, you won’t be able to reach everything, but you can get the circulation moving on your arms, shoulders, legs, feet, abs, and other areas depending on your body type and physical abilities. A few techniques to look into are effleurage, percussion, acupressure, and trigger point therapy. 

Be sure to keep it gentle and watch out for endangerment sites, which are areas of the body that should not be massaged or can be super sensitive.

Make a Protein Shake

As the building blocks of the body, amino acids from protein are vital to post-workout recovery. Muscles depend on amino acids for the cells to perform normal repair functions, produce new cells, and keep existing cells healthy. There are all different kinds of protein options out there that you can add to a smoothie or shake but look for something organic and plant-based with a balance of essential amino acids to provide the most support for your muscles. Essential elements® has options in Creamy Chocolate and Very Vanilla with everything you need in a high-quality protein to help you maintain healthy muscles and fuel your workout. 

Hydrate!

For your body to be able to stay in optimal health, you’ve got to stay hydrated. In fact, one of the signs of everyday dehydration is muscle cramping. This happens partially because an electrolyte imbalance affects the way the muscles are able to contract and relax. Hydrating before, during, and after workouts or physical activity is vital to helping the cells in your muscles stay healthy and for all of the tissues in the body to maintain their integrity. 

woman holding packages of three Essential elements Hydration flavors

Watch out for sugary sports drinks with almost as much sugar as a soft drink. Ee’s Hydration is just as effective as other sports drinks without the sugar. They also give you the added benefits of apple cider vinegar, which provides enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, it comes in 3 delicious flavors: Yuzu Lime, Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and Watermelon Cucumber. Don’t forget to Get Hy, so you are always prepared for your workout!

Warm Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salts have been one of those must-have therapeutic items in our cupboards for so long. It’s a go-to for many people for so many reasons. A lot of people swear by using Epsom salt baths for muscle recovery. Although there aren’t any specific scientific studies to support this, proponents claim that it makes a huge difference in how their body feels. It may be the warmth of the bath that helps to soothe, but the minerals in Epsom salt may also contribute to the muscles feeling less sore from working out. Soaking for at least 15-20 minutes is recommended with 1-2 cups of Epsom salts. Be sure you don’t have too hot water, as that could be counterproductive. You can also add a few drops of lavender, eucalyptus, or peppermint essential oil for added benefits. 

Sauna

A step into the sauna is like the sweet reward after giving it your all, no matter what kind of workout you do. This is actually an ancient technique that has been used for centuries for various health-promoting reasons. Using heat to induce sweating and relaxation has tons of health benefits and can make sore muscles feel soothed. 

There are a lot of modern twists on the sauna, and you can even install one in your home if you find it’s something that you just can’t get enough of. There are many kinds to choose from: large or small, but basically, it is a small room or device that traps heat in one way or another. There are steam saunas (or steam rooms), dry saunas, and infrared saunas. Each has its benefits, so the decision of which to use can be based on what is available and what you prefer.

Saunas of all types help the muscles release waste products built up from the impacts of exercise, and they promote circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluids. For workout recovery, sitting in a sauna for about 15-20 minutes is enough. Longer than that, you may sweat out extra electrolytes, leaving you feeling a bit dehydrated. Wait until after your workout to hit the sauna or steam room. Using them before your workout can put you at risk for injuries, and most of the benefits come from sitting in a sauna post-workout.

Cold Plunge/Ice Baths

Take the plunge! Using intense cold might not sound as appealing as a sauna, but it does have incredible benefits. Once you get used to it, you may be shocked at how good it can make your body feel. It even provides a bit of an adrenaline rush as the cold engulfs you. It really wakes you up and brings energy to every cell in your body! 

pro surfer Koa Smith in his ice plunge bath holding Essential elements hydration bottle

You can make your own ice bath at home but make sure you keep track of the temperature. Starting at about 55-60℉ for ten deep breath cycles is a good place to start, and as you get used to it, you can decrease the temperature and increase the amount of time. Be sure to stay within safe limits! Cold plunges can have intense effects on the body and do come with risks.

Some people will combine the sauna with a cold plunge and vice versa. The warmth opens your blood vessels while the cold constricts them, creating a kind of pumping action that brings healthy oxygenated blood to any stagnant areas, gets lymphatic fluids moving, and may help move waste products out of sore muscles. Make sure you discuss this with a doctor before trying it, especially if you have any health conditions.

Take a tip from pro-surfer Koa Smith, who uses hot and cold contrast to recover from an intense surf session. “I've fallen into a deep love with the ice bath and barrel sauna combo! I do about 2-4 rounds after a long surf, and it makes me feel like a superhuman!” 

The Essential Element

Knowing a few go-to methods to help your body recover post-workout will help you maintain strength and flexibility and can help promote cellular health in your muscles and joints. Even simply giving your muscles a rest is a vital part of the workout and is crucial to staying fit and keeping your muscles in a state of health. Useful workout supplements such as Hydration and Ee’s plant-based Organic Protein can help you stay energized before and after a workout or other physical activity that may push you to your limits.

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