The pain and exhaustion that you feel post-workout is likely caused by muscle fatigue.
If left unattended, muscle fatigue can damage your muscles and hinder any progress you've made in your routine. In order to manage this common athletic ailment, you must first understand what causes muscle fatigue.
What Causes Muscle Fatigue
The most common cause of muscle fatigue is over-exercising.
When you exercise, your body releases lactic acid, which it breaks down into lactate. Your body then uses lactate as an energy source.
Exercising too long or too hard, though, causes lactate to linger in your muscles. Leftover lactate causes the acid levels in your muscles to rise, producing pain and soreness.
Many a health teacher has harped, “You are what you eat.” That idiom rings especially true when it comes to planning an athlete's diet.
To function correctly, your body requires many vitamins that it cannot produce on its own. It relies on you consuming those vitamins to continue working. Athletes must take in higher levels of vitamins to maintain their bodies' performance.
Necessary vitamins include calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Foods rich in these vitamins include many fruits and green vegetables. Failure to consume the proper vitamin levels will result in poorer athletic performance.
Not Warming Up
Failing to warm up properly is another common cause of muscle fatigue. Going from not exerting yourself at all to exerting yourself strenuously shocks your muscles.
Warming up allows your muscles to ease into physical activity. You're less likely to experience muscle fatigue after some stretching and light jogging.
How To Recover From Muscle Fatigue
Muscles need protein in order to heal and repair themselves. It is recommended you consume a post-workout meal packed with protein to help recover from muscle fatigue.
Foods high in protein include meat, dairy products, and vegetables. Another possibility is protein shakes developed specifically with muscle fatigue recovery in mind.
When you're adjusting your routine or recovering from muscle fatigue, it's important to get enough rest. Resting up gives your muscles a chance to relax and repair themselves.
Twenty-four hours is the recommended rest time between workouts. If you feel pain or exhaustion, though, extending the period is a good idea.
Additionally, you should get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Many professional athletes get between eight and ten hours of sleep every night to ensure they are well-rested for their next workout.
Take Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt contains magnesium. Your body will absorb the salt naturally when you pour it into a bath of warm water.
The warm water will also soothe your aching muscles and help them loosen up. In fact, many professional bodybuilders regularly take Epsom salt baths to ease post-workout pains.
This one goes without saying. Water makes up roughly 60% of our bodies. To keep it working efficiently, you need to hydrate it with plenty of fluids.
Water not only keeps you feeling fresh and ready to work out. It also soothes muscles, which would become brittle and inflexible without it.
You now know what causes muscle fatigue. Do you know of any other muscle fatigue recovery tips? Tell us in the comments below!
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