Simi Pharmacy

When getting in shape is a pain

At Simi Pharmacy we are firm believers in exercise:  Strengthen your heart muscle, keep your weight under control, ward off damage to arteries, build strong bones, improve your balance, raise your metabolism, get sound sleep, crank up your brain, de-stress and improve your mood.

But … common sense tells us to start at Beginner’s Level.  Overdo it on Day 1 and your muscles will scream in protest.  You may be so sore that your determination to exercise simply evaporates.  And remember, even the fittest athletes can find themselves stiff and sore after a strenuous workout.  

When muscles ache immediately after a workout, the cause is build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.  This kind of pain goes away quickly.

Another kind of pain is the one that develops a day or two after a hard workout.  This happens when muscle fibers and connective tissue suffer little tears.

Cheer up!  Think of all the good exercise is doing you and believe that it gets easier the more you do it.

The first thing to remember is to cool down with a walk or jog after a session of vigorous exercise. This brings breathing and heart-rate back to normal even as blood circulation is maintained.  This means less chance of delayed muscle pain.

After your workout, take a long hot shower or bath. Adding Epsom Salts to the bath is doubly beneficial.

If something still hurts, apply an ice pack or a package of frozen vegetables. Cooling muscles and joints reduces swelling and lowers nerve activity. 

The next step is a relaxing massage.  It helps to heal those little tears and actually improves muscle performance over time.  Almost as good as a massage is foam rolling.  Put the roller on the floor underneath the sore muscle and slowly roll your body over it. 

Pain-killers certainly help, but before you gulp down a couple tablets of aspirin or ibuprofen, research suggests that Tylenol may be more useful.

Better yet, treat yourself to an amino acid called L-citrulline found abundantly in watermelon. Juice of cherries and pineapple is anti-inflamatory and so is ginger.

How to get the benefit of ginger?  Cut up or crush a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, add it to two cups of boiling water.  Allow it to steep for a couple minutes and pour yourself a cup of ginger tea.  

Antioxidant supplements, such as curcumin and fish oil, are useful too.  Curcumin is extracted from turmeric and it is nature‘s anti-inflamatory. A tasty way to get your curcumin dose is to drink a hot cup of turmeric-milk.  It’s easy to make: just combine a ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric with a pinch each of ground cardamom, black pepper, ginger powder and ground cloves. Stir the mix into a cup of milk. Add sugar/honey/agave syrup.  Simmer for 3 or 4 minutes; pour into a cup through a strainer and enjoy.

When it comes to topical pain relievers, arnica is highly effective … and natural.  It comes from a plant, Arnica montana, and it has been used to soothe sore muscles for centuries.

Compression wrist-bands, sleeves, socks, and leggings are effective pain relievers too. They hold the muscles in place and increase blood flow.


If those muscles are groaning, Simi Pharmacy certainly has something to make them feel better.

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