By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
One of my previous posts, Treating Your Sore Muscles: When to Use Ice or Heat gets a lot of website traffic. In my view, that means there must be a lot of people out there feeling muscle soreness! So I thought I’d do a quick follow up to see what my fellow web writers have to say about dealing with muscle soreness.
Men’s Health, one of my favorite magazines about health and fitness, has a short post on the 5 top muscle soreness relievers: They list deep tissue massage, cherry juice, coffee, ice and arnica (nature’s Bengay) as their top 5 Cures for Sore Muscles That Really Work. And WebMD has a nice post on How to Manage Sore Muscles and Joint Pain. In this post, WebMD lists common pain relievers (mainly NSAIDs), stretching after working out and easing into exercise to reduce muscle soreness. I really like this article because, 1. it validates much of what I tell clients and believe myself about muscle pain and 2. it emphasizes that any time we do an activity beyond what our bodies are capable of doing or are accustomed to doing, we tend to become sore. This is where mindfulness comes into our workouts!
Image from Huffington Post, Why the Mindfulness Fad Won’t Go Away
It’s one thing to take on an unexpected task like a surprise snow fall that requires you to shovel 8 inches of snow in April. We can’t always plan for these types of tasks and shoveling snow is hard work and does not have a nice stopping point like doing sets at the gym. With some task, you have to keep going until the job is done! However, starting a workout routine or even pushing yourself in your normal routine can lead to joint pain and muscle soreness beyond normal wear and tear if we overdo it. Approaching your workouts (and even snow shoveling) with mindfulness can help reduce not only muscle soreness, but injury as well.
Chris Willitts of Mindful Strength offers $97 online strength training program centered in mindfulness. I have not completed his program myself but it looks like a good approach to using mindfulness to improve your muscle strength.
Chris Willitts, found of Mindful Strength
Chris looks a bit like a younger Liam Neeson and it sounds like he has a strong background in meditation and mindfulness. If anyone has tried Chris’ program, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!
Another Chris, Chris Presto, writing in Sonima.com, offers up The Surprising Ways Mindfulness Can Improve Strength Training. Chris offers practical insights into how being mindful, focusing awareness on your muscles and form during resistance training can greatly benefit your workout. I also think it benefits our bodies by helping avoid injury due to mindlessly whipping weights around or going too fast through our sets.
How do you use mindfulness in your workouts?