This article first appeared on Women’s Running.
Fight the flames of muscle inflammation before they ignite. While minor pain and slight inflammation after a tough workout may occur, long-term inflammation from an injury or infection is not healthy. An acute inflammation means it’s short-lived, and the body can heal itself. Usually it’s caused from bacteria or an injury to the tissue. But chronic inflammation can stem from infection with a virus, an overactive immune system reaction or injury.
Inflammation, acute or chronic, occurs when chemicals from the body are released into the blood or injured area, resulting in redness, swelling and pain.
The symptoms include:
- Joint swelling
- Loss of function
Dr. Alan Christianson, a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and New York Times best-selling author, suggests using natural and holistic methods to fight inflammation rather than loading up on medication. Here’s some tips to soothe those burning muscles.
Rest and Reset
At least once a week, don’t train hard. Try a low-impact activity and soak in a tub with 2 pounds of Epsom salt for 20 minutes.
Don’t Forget to Eat Your Greens
Alkalizing foods (spinach, kale, cucumber, broccoli, avocado, celery, bell pepper) lower inflammation and prevent inflammation from occurring again. Have at least two large servings each day. Opt for a green smoothie in the morning to start your day on the right foot.
Have Some Fish
Omega-3 fats create your own natural anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Aim to have fish three times per week feed your body with fighting nutrients.
Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D
Vitamin D keeps your bones healthy and immune system strong. Without enough vitamin D, you’ll experience weak bones, arthritis and a slew of other conditions. You want to make sure your vitamin D levels are at 45 to 80 mg/ml. “Even in the Sonoran desert, 97 percent of the people I test are too low in Vitamin D,” explains Dr. Alan Christianson. If you’re low in vitamin D, it can cause inflammation in your muscles and joints—but still make sure to protect enough from the sun!
Catch Enough ZZZ’s
Most people don’t get enough sleep a night. With work, family and other engagements, it’s hard to take time for yourself. But one of the most important steps to fight inflammation and prevent it from worsening is to sleep. Get into a routine. Make sure you get to bed about the same time each night. Your body repairs itself and reverses inflammation when in a deep sleep. This does not work if your sleep schedule changes.