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A Healthy, Balanced Diet Reduces Muscle Soreness

Posted Apr 25 2013 6:00am

A healthy, balanced diet is just as important as a healthy, balanced life .  And I was reminded this after my last massage with  Jessica .

eat healthy feel good

I had booked a massage with her because it was the week leading up to my  Pure Barre spring challenge  and my hips weren’t feeling so hot.  They were in a decent amount of pain and I was pretty nervous that I wouldn’t be able to handle the workouts.  During the massage I could just feel the knots in my muscles.  It made me wonder how I could let my body get to this state.  To work them out, Jessica applied a bit more pressure that previous times so I was more sore after.  However, I felt like I was sore longer and in a different way, so I emailed Jessica to ask about this.

I didn’t hesitate to ask her because I know she cares about her clients.  She told me how she read my last  blog post  and learned from it where she should work next. This meant a lot to me because she didn’t have to read my post but she did.  She also is a yoga enthusiast and completing her certification as a Holistic Nutrition Specialist.  Jessica is even guiding Jim, one of the owners of  Be Well Boston , in  his journey to being vegan  as an experiment to see if it will help with his cholesterol.  So far from  Jim’s Going Vegan Update , it sounds like he is feeling energized and healthy!

What Jessica ended up telling me was that one of the biggest factor in how your body reacts to a deep tissue massage or even a workout is related to your diet and whether or not it is healthy and balanced.  Your diet can help you recover faster from everyday stresses on our body.  Stress (which can be anything from working too much to exercising too much or even from not exercising at all) causes acidic environments within our body.  Two of the main imbalances she mentioned were pH level and omega-3/omega-6.

pH levels

We ideally want our body’s pH to be slightly more alkaline because it is the best for proper function of the metabolic processes and delivery of oxygen to tissues.  The most common problem is that your body is in an acidic state and will start to try to take minerals from other parts of your body (bones and wherever else it can) to get it back to a neutral state.  If your body takes too many of the nutrients from your bones, they will grow weaker.  Other symptoms of more acidic state are mouth ulcers, gastritis, acidic saliva, sensitive teeth, thinning nails, stomach uclers, dry skin.  [2]

Omega-3 and Omega-6

Another imbalance is with omega-3 and omega-6 fats.  Omega-6 fats help generate prostaglandins that promote inflammation.  Omega-3 fats generate anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.  Inflammation of muscle tissue following exercise (secondary muscle damage) is the main reason you wake up sore after a good workout.  But if a diet that’s too low in omega-3 fats may slow muscle repair between workouts and you can feel sore for longer.  [1, p. 50-51]

Time for Change

From the massages I had with Jessica, she said that my tissue seemed fairly clean, but my extended soreness might be a result of imbalances of my diet.  Admittedly, I haven’t been eating the most healthy, balanced diet with Dave and I being so busy.  We have been eating whatever we can scrounge up or wherever is cheap and quick.  I always knew that nutrition was important for my marathon training but I think since I haven’t been in the thick of training for a race, I haven’t been as disciplined.  If my hips are going to get better and if I’m going to get conditioned for the Pan Mass Challenge, it’s about time I get my act together!

I’m not going vegan, but I am going to start to try to be better about what I’m putting into my body.  Eating too many refined sugars and very processed foods can also attribute to imbalances.  So I’m going to try to limit my binges on my favorite Starbursts jelly beans and the delicious brownies, cookies and cupcakes we are selling for the Pan Mass Challenge bake sales at work.  HOWEVER…I’m not going to completely get ride of these tasty treats.  My motto is that I can eat what I want, but in moderation.

 

What are some ways you keep your diet healthy and balanced?

 

 

Sources

[1]   Runner’s World Performance Nutrition for Runners.  Matt Fitzgerald.

[2]   Runner’s Connect:  Optimize your diet to balance your pH levels. 

 

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