Herbal Support for Post-Workout Recovery

What a strange time this is! Being cooped up at home due to social distancing regulations is a tough transition for everyone, but with all this extra time on our hands, exercising has become a mainstay in many daily routines. With gyms closed and having more idle time on our hands, many of us are finding ways to start up, or continue our workout routines in this time of social distancing. From streaming yoga classes to going out for a run, people are turning to physical activity as a healthy pastime.

Keeping healthy and fit during the pandemic not only helps keep our weight in check, but helps clear our minds and maintain our immune systems. It also helps to establish a daily routine, which is paramount to keeping your mental health in check during this trying time.

Benefits to Keeping Fit

Keeping healthy and fit during the pandemic not only helps keep our weight in check, but helps clear our minds and maintain our immune systems. It also helps to establish a daily routine, which is paramount to keeping your mental health in check during this trying time.  Bonus, it’s a much healthier activity than hitting the snack drawers whenever you’re feeling bored! 

Whether out of enthusiasm or boredom, it’s easy however, for a novice to overdo their workout routine in the beginning, rather than aiming for slow and steady progress. The result can lead to soreness, stiffness and sprains in your muscles and tendons.  

If you’re suffering from the after-effects of overdoing it, here are some of my favourite approaches and remedies (from an herbalists perspective) to help treat your aches and pains when you’re trying to sweat it out!

Reduce the Inflammation 

Arnica is an analgesic which has anti-inflammatory properties that can be applied externally to treat bruises, soreness and sprains. It is best used either as an ointment or cream for acute injury and pain due to injury.

St. John’s Wort (in oil or tincture form) is another great anti-inflammatory herb that can also be used externally to speed healing and bring down any inflammation. It is a good option for treating muscular bruises and soreness, along with minor injuries to the skin.  

Both of these herbs can be found in our Leg & Back Creme. 

Take an Epsom Salt Bath

Supercharge your water therapy by adding Epsom salts to your bath water – it’s ideal for restoring magnesium levels in your body. An abundant and naturally occurring element, magnesium is a crucial component of many processes that occur in our bodies. Epsom salts are loaded with this essential element to calm cramping muscles and reduce tissue swelling. It helps relax tense muscles and can also be used as a sleep aid when taken internally, which is essential in post-workout recovery. 

 

Promote Circulation

Getting circulation moving in the arteries and muscles helps to reduce injury, increase flexibility and improves overall recovery time. Cayenne pepper and Ginger root are two superior herbs that help to improve blood flow. Our Heat Rub combines both herbs along with other supportive anti-inflammatory and circulatory stimulants. Rubbed onto swellings, sore muscles and joint pain will aid in post sports recovery. For added warmth and stimulation add a warm compress or heated pad for targeted spots and troublesome areas.

 

Eating to Restore Physical Function

Turmeric’s active component (curcumin) regulates inflammatory responses and aids in the maintenance of general health. Turmeric helps to restore joint function and movement by adjusting the body’s inflammatory response. Curcumin can also promote the production of special proteins that aid in immune cell function. My favourite supplement at the moment is AOR Curcumin. If you prefer getting your curcumins through food,  I recommend the Canadian owned company Truly Turmeric for a great turmeric paste you can add to your favourite recipes.

Taking Good Care

Keeping active is an important component to self-care, especially when so many of us are inside and physically distancing from our favourite people and pastimes. Whatever your preferences, remember to listen to your body and not overextend yourself, particularly when you’re first starting out.

If this advice is coming to you too late and you’ve overdone it, cut yourself some slack and give your muscles and joints ample time to recover by sticking to low-impact activities until you’re back to your old form. Remember, the road to fitness is a journey. Take it slow!