Pain is a part of everyday life for active Americans — whether as a result of their athletic pursuits or due to silly mishaps. Though pain can occur in the blink of an eye, it can linger for years and prevent sufferers from fully enjoying the sports and exercises they so love.
When participating in your favorite physical activity or trying out a new one for the first time, the last thing you want is for pain to live life for you. Ben Shear, performance trainer and Golf Digest fitness advisor, shares his tips on how to minimize and treat pain resulting from physical activity, so you can get back to performing at your best.
1. Warm Up
While warming up is often perceived as something only runners or collegiate or professional athletes need to do, no matter the physical activity you're partaking in, it is crucial to properly warm up to avoid injury and minimize pain. In fact, according to a recent ThermaCare survey of 2,000 Americans, 45 percent of people feel they have injured themselves due to a lack of stretching or warming up. A good warm-up should increase core body temperature, making the muscles more receptive to stretching, and stretching keeps the muscles pliable and mobile.
2. Stock Up
When aches and injuries strike, it's important to have items on hand that can combat pain quickly so that you can stay in the game. Be sure to stock up on a quick and effective topical pain reliever, like ThermaCare Ultra Pain Relieving Cream. It's the first and only formula with four powerful pain-fighting ingredients that provides deep, penetrating relief for multiple types of pain, including sore muscles, joint pain, back pain, arthritis and body aches.
3. Massage Up
Sure, massages are a great way to unwind, but they can also aid with managing pain. Massages can help muscles recover, stimulate blood circulation and alleviate local inflammation to improve mobility and flexibility.
4. Fuel Up
Hydration is crucial when it comes to muscle and joint recovery; however, water isn't the only fuel source to consider. The foods and drinks we consume can have a direct effect when it comes to minimizing muscle and joint pain post-exercise. Low-fat chocolate milk has the ideal recovery ratio of carbs to protein (4:1), so it can aid in faster muscle recovery. Nuts and seeds, as well as fish like salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation. Moreover, they're packed with lean protein — a key element of muscle restoration.
5. Switch it Up
Yes, you're a golfer, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't explore other types of physical activity to up your performance on the course. By introducing other types of workouts, like swimming and running, you'll utilize different muscles and allow overused muscle groups a chance to heal and recover. Moreover, core and flexibility training can actually help you improve your athleticism, whether on the golf course or the basketball court.
For the 78 percent of people that participate in physical activity once or more a week, aches and pains are inevitable. Luckily, being equipped with thorough preparatory and recovery plans can make all the difference when it comes to getting back to feeling and performing your best. For more information, visit ThermaCare.com.