Have you ever pushed yourself so hard in the gym that you felt like your muscles just couldn’t take anymore? You may have experienced muscle fatigue. This happens when the strength of the muscles forces declines and can be due to sustained periods of activity.
Often the problem with muscle fatigue is that it’s not usually something you can anticipate, and you will only know you’ve pushed your body too far when it’s too late.The fatigue will cause a heavy feeling to set in through your muscles, which will affect their ability to function as they should. It can also leave them feeling sore and tender. Once you have it, there’s not much you can really do except to let your body heal itself – don’t worry it will heal, it may just take a few days. Whilst there isn’t really any medication you can take for this, there are things you can do help alleviate the symptoms for a smoother recovery and hopefully prevent frequent occurrences in the future.
Eat and drink well
Eating the right foods is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and exercise routine, especially if you’re focusing on working your muscles. Diets rich in amino acids and protein can not only help you overcome periods of muscle fatigue, but they will also help to strengthen your muscles preventing the fatigue from happening again. Also, if your diet is low in protein it can affect how quickly your muscles repair themselves. Aim for a diet loaded with foods like beans, lentils, chicken and fish. Bananas are another great food to stock up on as they are full of magnesium which helps the body synthesize proteins which repair and strengthen muscles. They are also good sources of potassium which gives your muscles the energy they need to recover quicker.
It’s not just what you eat – what you drink is important too. Try to drink high amounts of water during the day as it keeps muscles hydrated and keeps them loosened up. It also flushes out any toxins and waste that can hinder muscle recovery. Milk is also beneficial, as it contains calcium which helps to balance out the Ca+ ions which are what cause the onset of fatigue.
It might seem counter-productive to suggest more exercise when the very thing that has caused the fatigue is exercise. However, it is important to try and keep active during periods of fatigue to prevent your muscles from degenerating and tightening up. Instead of heavy activity, choose gentler exercises like swimming and yoga. Swimming in particular is great for tired muscles as it really stretches them out and acts as a fantastic muscle relaxant. The water also helps to reduce trauma and inflammation in affected areas, preventing stiffness and aiding a quicker recovery.
This isn’t just an excuse for a treat – massages really can help alleviate muscle fatigue. Massage techniques are great for reducing stiffness and tension in the muscles, and the movement also encourages better blood flow for quicker recovery. When it comes to massage for muscle fatigue however, make sure it is a gentle one. Intense massages may end up leaving you feeling much worse.
Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. When you’re off in the land of nod, your body has the opportunity to repair and recover itself uninterrupted. For the best results try to avoid any pre-bedtime snacks as energy that could be used repairing your muscles will instead be directed at digesting what you’ve just eaten.
Muscle fatigue is something most people will experience, especially if they are pushing themselves physically. Whilst not life-threatening, it is important to take care of yourself and take steps to relieve the symptoms and prevent it otherwise you risk injuring yourself or burning out.
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