In the high desert of the intermountain west where we live, we've had a LOT of snow this spring. It's almost as if Mother Nature teases us with mild spells of warmth, only to destroy our hopes with a layer of snow the next day. I'll admit, I'm missing my beloved garden this time of the year, and when the temperature is eventually warm enough to get my fingers dirty, I will relish it.
In the meantime, before temperatures truly heat up, its a good time to prepare you for the potential muscle aches and soreness from the overexertion that can come with using muscles you haven't used in a while. In springtime, I see a lot of people in my office who have been sedentary over the winter, and when it suddenly warms up, like me they feel the urge to go outside and work on their garden and landscaping. Suddenly, they're digging and gardening and doing things that use muscles that have not been used for several months. When they end up with muscle stiffness and muscle pain due to overexertion, they end up in my office looking for a solution, so I came up with a few suggestions to help prevent and treat muscle pain from overexertion:
One of the best things you can do for your future, warmer-weather self is to start today! Incorporating a combination of stretching, squatting, and cardio into your daily routine is an ideal way to prepare your muscles for outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, swimming, etc... This can be especially important for those who have been more sedentary throughout the winter and suddenly feel the desire to head outdoors and get gardening and landscaping.
Always make sure that you're well hydrated. Muscles are rely on water in order to rid themselves of lactic acid, a metabolic waste product that accumulates during activity that is the cause of soreness and stiffness. So make sure you drink a glass of water before you go out and often during activity because dehydration contributes to muscle stiffness and pain.
In addition to hydrating, it's a good idea to increase your Vitamin C intake. Vitamin C helps to support the body in removing metabolic waste like lactic acid. Citrus fruits are actually still in season, along with early spring dark green leafy veggies such as spinach and kale. Taking a Vitamin C supplement like Emergen-C or Vitamin Code is another option, these are both excellent products that I often recommend because they contain bioavailable forms of Vitamin C.
Another supplement that you can do both preventatively and remedially is magnesium. Research shows that magnesium helps counterbalance lactic acid, as well as relax overstimulated nerve receptors. Most people are deficient in magnesium, making supplementation almost essential for preventing muscle soreness during times of physical exertion. I recommend a highly absorbable chelated magnesium supplement.
Another great product for muscle soreness is our cayenne salve, which was formulated to help increase circulation and reduce pain in the area it is applied to.
Our Muscle and Joint formula is another incredible tool for relieving muscle and joint stiffness and soreness. Created with herbs know for their anti-inflammatory and circulation boosting properties, this formula is a staple in my summertime essentials kit.
Now that you've got the tools to prevent stiffness as we wait for the snow to melt, I'd love to know.... what outdoor activity are you most looking forward to?