Muscle soreness, cramping, fatigue…these might come as a result of oxidative stress buildup from a hard workout, but they may also keep you from staying consistent with your training. So in order to get back into the gym or onto the trail, the name of the game is optimizing your recovery between workouts. The good news is there are a variety of easy things you can implement into your life to combat muscle soreness and stress: in particular, magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most powerful of these methods to help you bounce back from a tough workout. Additionally, it may be one of the most powerful things you can use to help you distress from a tough day at the office.
Magnesium is an essential mineral for our body as it regulates over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. In particular, magnesium helps our bodies produce energy, and without magnesium, our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction. However, some estimates suggest that up to 80% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets and may even be deficient.
So how to we get more magnesium in our diets, and how can we utilize magnesium as a performance enhancer and stress reducer? Here are some of the easiest ways to benefit from this amazing and often overlooked mineral:
Bath salts will make you feel amazing. And no, we’re not talking about the strange drug that made headlines a few years ago. Epsom salts, otherwise known as magnesium sultate, is one of the most cost-effective and powerful ways to relax your muscles and wind down from a tough workout or a long day. Simply pick up a large bag of Epsom salts – you can do so here – add 2 cups or so to a warm bath, and soak your body for about 15-20 minutes. The magnesium ions are easily absorbed into your skin, and the warm water opens up your pores to enhance absorbability. These baths can help with muscle pain, cramps, anxiety, stress, strains, bruises, and other injuries.
Magnesium citrate is the drinkable form of magnesium, and it’s a popular way to get more magnesium into your diet as well. We recommend trying this brand. At the end of a long day, wind down with a warm cup of magnesium citrate dissolved in it. You may notice you feel more at ease, your muscles may feel less sore, and it may even help you get to sleep.
Perhaps less known than the previous two options but nonetheless quite powerful, spraying a magnesium oil on affected muscles can dramatically ease pain and cramping. Carry this spray in your gym bag and apply directly after a tough workout.
Whole Foods Rich in Magnesium
Whole, natural foods can provide magnesium as well, but with soil mineral content on the decline, many of the foods found in a supermarket may provide less than adequate mineral content. This is all the more reason to focus on the highest-quality produce you can find, either from reputable farmers at your local farmer’s market or from the highest quality whole food blends. The following foods, among others, are excellent sources of magnesium: Spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, avocados, figs, artichokes, and cashews.
So before you hit the gym, jump on the trail, or head to work for a long stressful day, make sure you’ve got this natural secret weapon to help you recover and rejuvenate more effectively!