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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Manage Muscle Soreness & Tightness


As we come off of summer vacation mode, you may have experienced or will experience sore or tight muscles.  This can occur with both increased activity, a new activity or desk sitting.  When you try a new activity or progress an exercise program this soreness comes from micro tears in the muscles which usually appear 24-72 hours after the activity.  This is called delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS) which usually resolves after a day or so as the muscle builds and recovers.  The other type soreness can be the result of inactivity, such as being in an immobile position for a long period of time.  Have you been in "couch potato" mode, binge watching your favorite show? Or working long hours at your desk?  The best way to prevent or alleviate this muscle tightness or soreness depends the source of the problem.

 

Addressing soreness from a new activity or exercise:

  • Prevention— Don't be a "weekend warrior", going all out on exercise or activity on weekends on your days off.  The worst DOMS can prevented with proper training and gradually ramping up.  Depending in your current fitness level start there and gradually increase the intensity or duration, that's what training is all about.  Consider working with a personal trainer to help prepare you for a new activity or progressing a current one.  Expect that there will be some amount of soreness from a new activity or as you change the intensity of a current one.

  • Evaluate—First evaluate how bad is the pain. Is it painful to move, is it just a nuisance?  If so, the soreness should resolve in a day or two.  Are you having problems doing your usual daily activities or the pain is lasting more than 3 days?  This may be an actual injury which may require a doctor's visit to have it evaluated.

  • Post-Exercise—After exercising take at least 10 minutes to stretch and/or use a foam roller on the muscles you just worked.  This may prevent the some of the stiffness felt afterwards.  A massage could also help.

  • Continued Exercise— If the pain is going to compromise the way your move, don't continue to perform that activity.  Trying to work through pain/soreness could cause additional problems if you can't more properly.  A different lighter activity that you can complete in good form is beneficial to work out some of the soreness.

  • Overtraining— Consider if the pain is a symptom of overtraining.  If you've been training consistently and notice your performance is not improving or getting worse, this could suggest you need to take a recovery break from that activity.  You'll notice an improvement after a much deserved break to let your body recover.

Addressing soreness or stiffness from inactivity:

  • Inactivity Breaks— Set up hourly intervals to take breaks from inactivity to move and stretch.  Long periods of inactivity can lead to shortened and weakened muscles.  Additionally, it can worsen your posture, leading to long term issues with pain.

  • Posture—Are you slouching, letting your shoulders fall forward?  If yes, a chest stretch is in order.  Interlace your fingers behind your back and pull the arms away from your body for a chest stretch. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds.

    Are your shoulders riding up towards your ears?  This means you're holding a lot of tension in the shoulders which can shorten the neck muscles leading to shoulder and neck pain, and develop into headaches.  Consciously try to relax the shoulders downward and perform shoulder rolls throughout the day to release that tension.

    Is your neck craning forward such as while looking at a monitor and reading this article?  This creates a lot of stress on the neck also attributing to headaches.  Change this position by moving your monitor or your body closer and try to tuck your chin back so that your ears are aligned with your shoulders, now you've relaxed and improved your posture.

  • Prolonged Sitting— Another area that gets shortened from sitting, are the front of the hips, also known as the hip flexors.  A standing desk could alleviate some of this.  Unfortunately, we spend a great of time in this position such as while driving or eating meals.  A hip stretch will lengthen this area or any stretch that opens up the front of the body will lengthen those areas from prolonged sitting.  Reach overhead with the arms and arching back feeling stretch in the front hips and chest.  Try this stretch to directly target the hip flexors - stand in front of a chair (one that won't roll away from you), bend your knee and put one foot on the chair, push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in the front hips of the standing leg, hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat on the other leg.

  • Tension— Holding tension in the body can lead to overall pain and stiffness.  Work on breathing fully into the chest and think about relaxing your tight areas.  Mindfully use this through-out the day, be aware of where you hold stress and tension then try to breathe deeply into those areas.

Here are few reasons to see a nutritionist/personal trainer/health coach: relieve tension & stress in the body, properly train or progress in an activity, improve your microbiome, assess nutrient intake, disease prevention through evidence-based diet, and exercise, maximize exercise performance, improve sleep quality, enhance mental clarity, optimize digestion and nutrient absorption, establish long-term healthy habits, meal planning for a whole foods diet and eat in a way to sustain the planet.  Please consider Sheri for nutrition counseling and/or fitness appointments to help you develop a healthier lifestyle for you and the planet. 

FITNESS/NUTRITION in the NEWS

Microbes and Mood

Last month's newsletter covered the topic of your gut microbiome and the the ways that can affect your body.  We briefly discussed mood regulation.  Here are a couple of observations from some studies: First, typical mice behavior changed dramatically when raised without gut microbes. Second, when rats were given the same microbes as a depressed person, they exhibited depressed and anxious behavior when compared to rats given micobes from person without depression.



Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 15 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise, senior fitness and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:   info@EatWellBeFit.com  or call:  206.789.6440


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