Your body is designed to move! When you move, the muscular system produces acid waste products that need to be removed from the body in order to allow recovery.
I recently got back into my running shoes after a long layoff, so I could participate in a charity 6K event. Despite having some training prior to the event, I have to admit that I was not fully prepared to run the total distance. If you are a runner or athletically inclined, you may know that when you get into these events, the energy of the crowd supports your own personal efforts. I gave myself permission to walk if I felt the need, but found myself jogging right along without fatigue. the whole distance. Full disclosure: I did rest and hydrate the whole day prior to the event and ate a bowl of oatmeal with butter and walnuts prior to race time.
When I finished the race event, I could feel it in my legs that I pushed myself pretty hard in the run. I immediately thought of all the natural "tools" I have to ease the muscle tightness, relieve the oxidative stress that occurs due to the increased physical stress of running long distances, and to replenish lost minerals from sweating heavily. In essence I wanted to create a recovery program to be anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory as well as relaxing.
When thinking about recovery from any imbalance, I always start with food and drink. At the end of the race there were several choices, but none really fit my desires for immediate, healthy and natural relief. Starting with drinks, there is the ever present Gatorade. It boasts the ability to replenish your electrolytes but it comes at a cost to your pancreas. The high sugar content may be useful to keep running, but at the finish line you are only going to cool down with a little more walking and maybe some light stretching which does not require much more glucose (the caveat is that some people who are hypoglycemic already have very low blood sugar and may need some glucose to stay upright!) An extra surge of glucose causes insulin release and this is not helpful immediately following a run. There are electrolyte supplements available today that have no sugar and can be added to the plain water at the finish line to make it a nutritional drink. This is my choice for a healthy recovery drink.
As for food, bananas are ubiquitous at the finish lines of all these races. The banana's claim to fame is its high potassium content (806 mg) it also has some magnesium and manganese to boot. I'm not a huge fan of conventionally grown bananas because unless you're living in the tropics these fruits are picked well before they are ripe then ripened artificially with ethylene gas, plus they are high in carbohydrates/sugar.
How about finding a healthy alternative from the vegetable world? Did you know that only 100 grams of dried seaweed delivers 1125mg of potassium and 770 mg of magnesium, not to mention it's high in iron, manganese and naturally occurring folate? It's also a very low glycemic food!
To begin your anti-oxidant anti-inflammatory recovery it might be wise to have a handful of walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. This combination provides a wonderful combination of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids for anti-inflammatory effects, will add to your mineral replenishing efforts, and has a significant vitamin E content which aids in cardiovascular health as a potent anti-oxidant.
To top off my recovery I often choose to boost my body's anti-oxidant efforts with 2-3 grams of buffered and reduced vitamin C. Vitamin C is used by the adrenal glands especially under stress and it's safe to say that running long distances is a significant stress on the body, so it needs to be replaced. Vitamin C is also a significant player in the body's anti-oxidant efforts, so having adequate vit. C on board is important! Finally I may add a good B-complex supplement to aid in nervous system balance and energy production as the body makes the effort to repair any damage done during the run.
When you've made it home and you're ready for a post-race meal, you can continue your anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory efforts with a healthy green salad topped with freshly baked salmon smothered with turmeric, yum!
Before bed, why not skip that tylenol or advil and replace it with naturally occurring relaxing herbs like Passiflora incarnta, Valeriana officinalis, Matricaria recutita or Piper methysticum, They will ease you into deep, relaxed sleep and will support your digestive system rather than aggravate it.
If you're interested in more individualized ways to naturally support healthy exercise and recovery, set up an appointment today! email DrBohlmann@AdvantageIntegrative.com