Exercise can cause inflammation, aggravated by intense and prolonged physical activity.
Some remedies to manage inflammation include an anti-inflammatory diet, adequate rest and treatments such as ice application and stretching.
It is important to strike a balance in training, avoiding excess and alternating low-impact activities on rest days to prevent inflammation and promote healing.
Among the various injuries that can happen to runners and exercisers, that of incurring inflammation is quite common. Actually, the term “inflammation” is quite general and defines a reaction of the body to an injury, bacterial attack, or trauma. This is why, for example, a common injury such as joint pain can (in fact, it is not the only symptomology) be caused by inflammation.
Depending on its severity, the inflammation can be more or less debilitating, even to the point of forcing absolute rest and targeted medication.
Remedies for inflammation
There are remedies that can be taken, especially when inflammation is at an early stage. Sure: some foods, such as leafy green vegetables, salmon and strawberries, due to their anti-inflammatory properties help a lot. The important thing is to intervene with other precautions as well, such as the aforementioned rest but also adequate sleep. In fact, the consequences of neglected inflammation can be very serious, escalating to heart failure, hypertension to diabetes and cancer.
Is training always good for you?
As we said, inflammation is a part of life, and a strong and immune healthy body is definitely the first and most effective remedy to contain and defeat it. Maintaining a good exercise routine then definitely helps equip the immune system with tools to respond to crises. There is a paradox, however: exercise, by placing the body under stress, is also a cause of some inflammation.
To a certain extent, this consequence of physical activity does not affect the body, which, on the contrary, becomes accustomed to being more responsive and self-correcting. The problem arises when the activity is too much for the body’s ability to withstand it or is so continuous and frequent to the point that fundamental recovery breaks are neglected (remember to the point of exhaustion that recovery and rest are an integral part of training).
In other words, the immune system reacts against joints, intestines, or other organs and tissues as if they pose a health risk. In short, in the long run this inflammatory response could harm instead of help and heal the body.
How to tell if you have overtrained?
There are symptoms that can help you tell if the training you have put your body through is excessive: soreness, stiffness of muscle tissues, pain, swelling in certain parts of the body.
What to do, short of reducing activity or even stopping?
Here are some remedies:
- Apply ice to areas at risk of inflammation for 15-20 minutes with a cold pack
- Hydrate continuously throughout the day
- Stretch before and after training(always a few hours apart, however) to prepare the body for sudden movements or changes in activity, and to relax muscles after training
- Do not overlook the importance of rest days in recovering psychological balance: the injury can indeed discourage you, and rest, by helping recovery, can restore your good mood
- Change the load and type of training, focusing on light, low-impact movements. On these days of “relative rest” or low-intensity activity, you can do yoga workouts, stretching, Pilates, tai chi or swimming or even just walking.
A new routine
If you have always trained by focusing on one discipline, inflammation that has forced you to rest and slow recovery could be an unexpected gift. In fact, it can teach you how to dose your efforts better and not overstress your physique, as well as teach you a good habit, such as alternating your main workout with other lower-impact physical activities, to be done on days when you are not exercising or even on the same days, but in moderate amounts.
(Via Eating Well)