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Movement

6 Ways to Prevent and Soothe Aching Muscles

Simone Austin
Written by Simone Austin | Swisse Accredited Practising Dietitian
soothe aching muscles

Feeling a little tired and sore? The summer weather is great for getting you out and moving but can your body keep up? Apart from putting your feet up to rest, there are a few more strategies we can do to soothe weary muscles and have you up and ready to go again.

Six tips to soothe aching muscles

  1. Icing can helps ease sore muscles and joints - whilst you have your feet up, try an ice pack.
  2. Stretching with a foam roller might provide some sore muscle relief.
  3. Include a cool down at the end of your session or light activity the following day such as a walk, swim or light ride.
  4. Drink up to hydrate. Dehydration can contribute to muscle fatigue. Drink before, during and after exercise, (without overdoing it, thirst and the colour of your urine can help tell you when you need a little more). Spread out your fluid intake, rather than guzzling all at once. Water is the best fluid choice, unless exercise is high intensity and about of over 90 minutes. You might then need to consider a drink that contains electrolytes and some carbohydrates.
  5. Fuel up. If you are training, your body needs carbohydrates to fuel muscle activity. Undereating will gradually find the muscle depleted of its energy stores (glycogen), leading to fatigue. Eat a meal or snack after training. For example, a bowl of oats with fruit and yoghurt after morning training, a wholegrain sandwich with tuna and salad with lunch, jacket potatoes with lean meat and vegetables for dinner. Fruit, milk, canned beans and soups make great post workout snacks.
  6. Maintain mineral balance. Minerals cannot be made by the body, they must come from your diet. Every time you move a muscle, your heart beats, or a new cell is created, magnesium is involved. Magnesium is essential to muscle contractions. It is a natural calcium blocker to allow muscles to relax, while calcium initiates them to contract. A diet low in magnesium may lead to muscle cramps and spasms. Magnesium is lost through sweating and urine . Keep up your magnesium intake in your diet.

What foods are rich in magnesium?

Magnesium is found in many foods, mostly plant based. Foods that are rich in magnesium include:

  • Wholegrains (brown rice, grainy bread, barley, wholegrain breakfast cereals)
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes (cooked, skin on)
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
  • Fish

Meat and poultry contain very little magnesium. A good reason to keep up your plant food intake, including vegetables and a handful of nuts and/or seeds each day. Try making up a trail mix with nuts, dried fruit and seeds and packing that to take to training or on a longer run or ride.

If you are following a low carbohydrate diet with minimal grains, you may be missing out on valuable magnesium sources. If you choose refined carbohydrates such as white bread and rice you are also missing out. !

How to get more magnesium into your diet

  • Choose a wholegrain cereal for breakfast
  • Have a handful of seeds and nuts for a mid-afternoon snack
  • Leave the skin on potatoes when cooking
  • Include more legumes into your diet - add a can of kidney beans into casseroles, curries, soups and pasta sauce, add a few spoonsful of chickpeas or other beans to your salads
  • Add a handful of fresh spinach into your salad, sandwich or with your poached eggs

These tips will have you recovered quickly, ready for the next session. If you are feeling tired and sore for long periods talk to a health professional. For further sports nutrition advice visit an Accredited Sports Dietitian and the check out the book, ‘Eat Like An Athlete’.