It’s no secret that exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Running, weight lifting… even sports are a great way to stay in shape, learn important social skills, and make memories.
But if you’ve been working out for any length of time, sooner or later you’ll experience your first injury. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme --- lifting too much weight too quickly can cause torn muscles. If your foot hits the pavement at the wrong angle, you could strain a tendon. Not stretching properly can result in cramps.
Just as preparing your body before and during your workout or sport is important, so is aftercare. Even if your workout was easy, your body still has a recovery process to go through.
Depending on your fitness goals (building muscle, losing weight, etc), there are ways you can help your body recover faster.
Did you know there are certain herbs you can take to help workout-related injuries like sprains, cramps, and over-worked muscles?
In this article, we’ll share some of the best herbs to take when recovering from a sports or workout injury.
If you’ve ever pushed yourself too hard and suffered an injury as a result, ginseng can help. This root has a high anti-inflammatory profile, which helps to calm and reduce inflammation. It also protects your cells and helps to regulate motor function.
Taking ginseng can help your body recover faster, as well as “prevent further damage caused by exercise-related injuries.”(7)
Not only is ginger a great addition to your Asain meal, it also works wonders for sore muscles. During a study that tested the effectiveness of ginger on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (10), researchers found that ginger acts similar to pain relieving medication like Aspirin.
Taking ginger after you workout can help you recovery quicker, without the side effects of an over-the-counter pill.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric is a root that can be found in various parts of Asia. It’s dried, ground up powder has been used for centuries to help alleviate arthritis and indigestion.
How could it help you recover after a workout? If you engage in repetitive circuits, you run the risk of damaging your muscles through over-exertion. This can increase inflammation.
Taking turmeric for the days following a workout or sporting event can help keep inflammation down, and seems to act similarly to NSAIDS (8).
This extract comes from the Boswellia tree in India. You may also know it by its other name - frankincense. Over the centuries, boswellia serrata has been used for sore joints and to support the immune system.
Because it also contains components that inhibit proinflammatory enzymes (9), it’s often paired with turmeric to pack a powerful punch.
Fenugreek is an herb found in Mediterranean regions. It’s been shown to help your muscles increase their creatinine intake (1) when paired with a creatine supplement. This helps a lot if you are trying to avoid consuming a lot of simple carbs right before an event.
Kratom is a plant found in parts of Thailand and Malaysia. The natives in these regions have used this plant for centuries for its pain-relieving properties.
For fitness, it can help increase blood circulation (5), which makes for a great pre-workout supplement. It also can help improve your focus and stamina so you can finish strong. It’s caffeine-free too, so no unpleasant jitters.
If you’re building muscle, Krom helps decrease the “sore muscle” feeling you get after an intense workout. This can be motivation for you to work harder the next time.
This flower has a special ability to help your body keep stress at a minimum (1). While some stress can help push you past your comfort zone, an overworked body can cause stress that makes your cortisol levels chronically higher than normal. This can result in adrenal fatigue, or that “spare tire” look that everybody would love to get rid of.
Lactic acid can cause that sore feeling in your muscles after a workout. Taking the flowering plant Rhodiola Rosea can help reduce the lactic buildup (6) in your muscles, minimizing overall recovery time.
This compound is a flavonoid found in foods like celery and parsley. In a recent study (2), researchers found that supplementing Apigenin into the diet seemed to turn on specific genes that resulted in an increase in muscle strength. This is highly beneficial if you’re a runner or have an endurance training regimen!
This superfood from Peru holds an array of benefits. Maca root has been used to help balance hormones and minimize stress damage to the body. For the athlete, it can help boost testosterone (3) and give more energy.
Another fun fact is that Maca has 18 of the 20 amino acids you need.to function optimally. Amino acids help your muscles recover and grow after workouts. That’s pretty amazing, seeing as this is a root vegetable!
This popular herb has been used in teas and sports drinks for a while now, and for good reason. According to a British study, yerba mate tea contains the amino acid L-theanine. That, as well as caffeine, helps your mind focus and your body stay alert.
Its high antioxidant levels also help reduce inflammation. When it comes to muscle recovery, you could experience a muscle strength recovery rate of over 8% (4) after your first workout.
Other Ways to Speed Up Recovery
- Massage: While there isn’t a lot of research (8) on the direct effects a massage has on sore muscles or tendons, the relaxation a massage can give will definitely help promote blood flow.
- Sleep: Sleeping helps your body rest, repair, and reset. Not getting enough sleep wears your body out, and you won’t recover as quickly.
- Water: Staying hydrated is part of being healthy in general, but it’s especially important during sports or workout recovery. Your body is experiencing an elevated level of chemical processes, and water can help those processes move along more effectively.
- Food: Don’t expect to make much progress if you chow down on junk food after a workout or sporting event. Your body just spent an incredible amount of time firing up, burning fat, and replacing cells. Replace what’s been lost with nutrient-dense foods.
- Supplements: Taking supplements like KaraMD Boost NXT or KaraMD Comfort Guard X24 can help you perform and recover at your best.
Staying active helps you both physically and mentally. You may enjoy competitive sports, or you might prefer a more leisurely approach.
There will be occasions where you go a bit too far and injury yourself. These instances can be unpleasant. They can even set you back if you’re working towards specific goals.
When that happens, there are things you can do to help yourself recover faster. Specific herbs perform specific functions, and some target inflammation, muscle strain, and low energy.
Have you considered herbs as part of your fitness, sports, or workout routine? If not, there’s not better time to start than today!