Friday, January 15, 2016

5 Ways to Alleviate and Prevent Sore Muscles

It's Friday! It has been a great week! PTL (praise the Lord)! We made it through our first full week of ballet classes and rehearsals for 2016 here at Ballet Magnificat, and man am I sore! Did you know soreness is a result of microscopic tears in the muscles! It sounds more dramatic than it really is. As uncomfortable as soreness is, I don't really mind it because at least I know I have muscles. ^_^ With sore muscles it is easier for me to find correct ballet body placement, and at the end of the week being sore just makes me feel so accomplished. Not to be misleading; at the end of a good, hardworking dance week sometimes all I want to do is NOTHING because I ache so much! Unfortunately, doing nothing is an option my life does not permit. Ain't nobody got time for that. Dancers and athletes, I would like to share with you my favorite 5 out of the many ways in which you can prevent, manage, and alleviate your soreness.

#1 Drink lots of water. Make sure you have a nice sized, cute water bottle and drink water all the time! Before, during, and after exercise! This will help increase the oxygen your muscles need giving them stamina and helping them in the recovery process. I think the rule of thumb to ward off dehydration is to drink 6 to 8oz glasses of water daily. I love drinking water out of my pink champagne swell bottle!


#2 Eat bananas. When exercising, our bodies tend to lose vital minerals such as potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes. There are plenty of natural foods, products, and supplements out there that can aid in renourishing our bodies. Consider the banana! According to Chiquita Banana, on average a banana contains 422 mg of potassium. So make sure to eat up for yourself a heaping helping of nutritious fruit, and while you're at it,  some vegetables too! I need to get better at this one. Bananas in particular are known to assist in preventing muscle cramps. So be reminded the next time you wake up in the middle of the night due to those horrendous charlie horses that you get from practicing petit allegro in your sleep, YOU NEED BANANAS!

#3 Ice baths/ icing muscles. Athletes of all statures are known for reaping the benefits from the practice of bathing in ice. Ice baths reduce inflammation and are thought to constrict blood vessels and flush waste products like lactic acid out of your body, sited by http://sportsmedicine.about.com/. Both Lebron James- Professional Basketball Player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Usain Bolt- Fastest Person Ever, Jamaican Sprinter and World Record Holder for the 100m and 200m, avowal via twitter, of taking ice baths, not to mention some of my fellow dance company members as well. As for me, I am just NOT into it. But I am an advocate for icing, only just smaller muscles groups at one time using moldable ice packs or a bucket of ice water. At the end of a day filled with intense activity, I am often found to be icing a given area for typically 10-15mins.
Check out the following helpful link about icing: 8 ice bath dos and donts


#4 Keep stretching and moving through it. As I so often remark, resting vs. being active is a fine balance. Always listen to what your body tells you that it needs, but when it comes to having sore muscles you should know: light activity can help ease soreness just as well as a massage, according to a new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and I have experienced this personally for myself as well. In keeping active you will increasing blood flow and prevent your body from growing stiff. Personally, I like to "walk it out".  After a grueling day of dance, I make some time for strolling around the neighborhood and finish it off with some light stretching. I love that walking also has psychological benefits too.

#5 My foam roller. I LOVE my foam roller. Once only used by professional athletes and therapists, foam rollers are now becoming more mainstream. The concept of rolling out my muscles using a foam roller was introduced to me by my first Pilates teacher. To the effect of a deep-tissue massage, rolling out your muscles with this handy tool will loosen them up, prevent soreness, as well as treating already sore muscles. So if you have one, roll out both before and after exercising. Foam rollers are great because you can message almost any muscles with them; from you back to your butt, legs to your feet, they make for a great investment! http://www.optp.com/ is a great place to purchase foam rollers and other physical therapy type contraptions.




Thank God it's Friday! have a great weekend!



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