How to Manage Body Aches
When you work hard, play hard, and workout hard every day in order to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it’s easy to overdo it and end up with body aches and pains. In fact, it’s an inevitable part of an active lifestyle – especially as we age and/or our bodies and exercise routines change. According to WebMD, this type of soreness can be caused by doing something you aren’t used to (like running a marathon when you normally jog just a few miles), suddenly kick up your exercise intensity or workout length, or do new exercises that your body needs time to adjust to.
This does not mean that you cannot push or challenge yourself when it comes to activity and exercise. Rather, it means that you have to be mindful of your body’s limits and prioritize muscle recovery throughout the day. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to incorporate the following recommendations into your daily routine so you can manage muscle aches through faster recovery:
Your muscles need their own “wake up routine” after a good night’s sleep! Doing some light, quick stretches first thing after waking will help loosen tight muscles and relieve any soreness caused by pressure build-up on your shoulders or hips while sleeping. Make sure to spend time on areas that need extra attention that feel achy in the morning, like your neck and shoulders, and you’ll help reduce additional tension throughout the day.
Water is an essential part of human life. Your body relies on it to perform basic processes, including muscle recovery after activity. When you are dehydrated, your body struggles with these processes which can lead to physical pain and slower muscle recovery. One of the easiest rules to remember is “8x8”, which states that you should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to stay properly hydrated. And, it’s also important to stay hydrated during and after your daily workout as well.
Practice Good Posture
Proper posture is not just good for your back, it’s also an effective way to prevent muscle stiffness which can lead to aches and pains. There are some very simple tricks to maintaining good posture whether you are sitting, standing, or engaging in activity:
- Keep your back straight and your spine aligned
- Keep your shoulders back and your stomach pulled in
- When standing, try to distribute your weight evenly between your feet with the majority of the weight on the balls of your feet
- If sitting for long periods of time, get up and take breaks
- When exercising and/or lifting items, bend from the knees
Stretch Before and After Exercise
This stretching is going to be a bit more intense than your gentle morning stretching, but it’s meant to protect your muscles before working out and promote faster recovery after. Your stretching routine should be customized towards your workout, which muscles you are going to work, and which areas of your body need the most attention. While the routines should not be rushed, you don’t have to spend more than 3-5 minutes stretching both before and after your workout.
Getting regular massages may seem a bit indulgent, but it’s actually a great way to help ease muscle aches and tension that build up over time. This is especially true if you have problem areas that are not easily addressed by stretching or self-care. Be sure to talk openly with your massage therapist about your specific needs, your tolerance for pressure levels, and any other medical issues you may have before getting started.
Since most of us cannot afford the time or money for daily massages, home care will be an important part of your muscle recovery routine. You can help ease muscle aches with simple heat therapy at home. Simply use any commercially available heating pad and apply it directly to the affected area, taking caution to not let your skin overheat and to use only as directed for 10-20 minutes. Hot baths are a great and relaxing alternative that can help ease muscle pain while also helping to reduce stress. Topical treatments like our Renew and Recharge topical cream are another great option and can help provide targeted relief to problem areas while promoting faster recovery.
Remember, body aches happen to everyone – even the most seasoned athletes. By incorporating all or even some of these suggestions into your life, you can help keep your muscles healthier, reduce aches and pains, and get back to doing the things you love.
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