Muscle strains are all too common in the world of fitness and unfortunately we have to encounter these from time to time. One of the best ways to avoid a muscle strain is to thoroughly stretch before and after your workout, as well as a nice warm up and cool down. However if you are currently suffering from a muscle strain or happen to get one in the future, keep these recovery tips in mind.
- Rest – Take as much time off as you need from working out, listen to your body.
- Ice – Apply for 20 minutes then remove for 20 minutes, repeat as necessary.
- Compression – If possible wrap the injured area (example: foot, hand).
- Elevate – If possible elevate the injured area above your heart, this will help in decreasing pain, swelling and inflammation. (example: foot, hand)
- Protein – Aim to consume 1 gram per pound of body weight.
- Potassium – Increase your potassium intake, bananas and yogurt are a great source.
- Stretch – Stretching will help activate and loosen your muscles and release tension from the affected area. Make sure you do not overstretch, if you feel any discomfort while stretching, STOP!
Unfortunately recovering from a muscle strain or injury can be a long process. It is important to let your body fully heal and return to 100%, however do not be afraid to slowly test and exercise the injured area as it is important to keep the blood flowing and keep full mobility.