The muscle soreness and joint pain you experience post-workout are often associated with mild forms of exercise-induced inflammation. Inflammation can cause debilitating pain, slow your recovery process, and even hinder the progress you’ve made with your training. By better managing post-workout inflammation, you can recover faster, cause less stress to your body, perform better, and protect yourself from overtraining and possible injury.
What Is Post-Workout Inflammation?
Post-Workout Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response, to heal itself after strenuous physical activity. Its purpose is to initiate the healing process and repair damaged tissue cells from created or added physical stress. When your body senses something is wrong or detects something foreign, such as a microbe or chemical, it’s natural response is to heal itself by expanding nearby blood vessels leading to the injured or infected area. Your body then releases cytokines and white blood cells as a first responder to initiate the repair process.
Inflammation, therefore, is actually a good thing. Without it, your body wouldn’t be able to heal itself. But, if the inflammation persists over time, your body can be subjected to overuse, overtraining, and injury. In unhealthy adults, chronic inflammation is linked to many major diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and depression. Chronic inflammation can occur, even when your body is not confronted with a foreign invader. This is obviously something you want to avoid at all costs.
How Post-Workout Inflammation Works
Resistance and endurance training causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers; this initiates inflammation or the repair process to begin healing the damage that’s been caused to the muscle tissue. Post-workout inflammation produces symptoms of pain, stiffness, and soreness as a defense mechanism to limit physical activity so that you can properly heal and recover. If your training sessions lapse during this recovery period, your body is exposed to overuse and can cause serious injury. This can lead to further muscle mass breakdown and secondary muscle damage known as DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness.
RELATED ARTICLE DOMS: How To Treat Muscle Soreness And Inflammation
Athletes who train on a daily basis may experience post-workout inflammation which may not be entirely resolved, and muscle damage may not be adequately healed between training sessions. If you persist in training at maximum capacity without the proper amount of rest and nutrition you may enter a cycle of insistent tissue trauma and chronic post-workout inflammation.
Here are some powerful ways to naturally reduce post-workout inflammation so that you can recover faster and maintain a healthy immune system and overcome serious injury or illness to become a better athlete.
11 Ways To Reduce Post Workout Inflammation
1. Eat Foods High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Your body can’t manufacture Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) so it’s important to get them through your diet or through supplementation. EPA and DHA are primarily found in foods such as salmon, anchovies, tuna, and other fatty fish.
The effectiveness of Omega-3 supplementation has proven to be very beneficial in reducing chronic inflammation and helping in post-workout inflammation such as joint pain.
In a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 125 patients that were diagnosed with nonsurgical neck or back pain were administered 1200-2500mg of Omega-3 fatty acids per day. After 75 days, fifty-nine percent discontinued taking their prescription NSAID medications for pain. Sixty percent stated that their overall pain was improved, and 60% stated that their joint pain had improved. Eighty percent stated they were satisfied with their improvement, and 88% stated they would continue with Omega-3 supplementation. This study concluded that Omega-3 supplementation demonstrated an equivalent effect in reducing arthritic pain, as does Ibuprofen [R]. If that doesn’t prove the efficacy of Omega-3 fatty acids in relieving post-workout-inflammation then I don’t know what does.
If you can’t get enough fish in your diet, then supplement with Krill Oil.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Krill Oil + Astaxanthin (60 Servings)
2. Add Turmeric And Ginger
Turmeric and Ginger both contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been used for centuries in ancient medicine to treat joint inflammation, arthritis, and chronic gastrointestinal issues.
Turmeric contains over 100 unique chemical properties that contribute to its countless therapeutic and anti-inflammatory effects. The most active ingredient in Turmeric is Curcumin a polyphenol which has been shown to target multiple signaling molecules at the cellular level. Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps reduce post-workout inflammation. Research has shown that curcumin is a highly active molecule that modulates the inflammatory response by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines
In addition to chronic inflammation, several studies have been initiated to define Turmeric’s unique role and mechanism of action on arthritic pain, specifically joint inflammation and mobility by reducing joint swelling. In vivo animal studies, have shown that curcuminoids contribute to anti-arthritic effects, helping to reduce joint swelling and inflammation, up to 48% [R ,R]
Another study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that ginger contains high anti-inflammatory properties, which can be used in the effective treatment of post-workout inflammation, to reduce muscle pain and soreness after intense physical exercise [R]. Therefore, adding some ginger and spice can provide huge benefits to helping you reduce post-workout inflammation.
If you're looking for the best turmeric supplement to help reduce post-workout inflammation, then you need at least 500-1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day. The problem, however, is with your body’s ability to absorb it. Therefore, if you want all of the associated health benefits and anti-inflammatory superpowers that lie within curcumin, then you’ll need to take a supplement that pairs turmeric with black pepper (piperine, Bioperine) Swolverine's Turmeric contains 95% curcuminoids and 5mg of Bioperine to help your body absorb the ingredients it needs to effectively reduce post-workout inflammation.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Turmeric Curcumin (60 Servings)
RELATED ARTICLE Health Benefits Of Turmeric To Promote Faster Recovery
3. Eat More Fermented Foods
The 100 trillion bacteria that live in your gut are imperative to your digestive and immune health. Digestive health is directly linked to keeping a healthy immune system and an imbalance in your gut flora can lead to the release of toxins, making your gut more permeable (leaky gut syndrome). When these toxins enter your bloodstream, your body produces inflammation.
Fermented foods such as Greek Yogurt, Kefir, and Kombucha contain unique functional properties that possess abundant health benefits due to the presence of microorganisms, or probiotics. By adding more fermented foods into your diet, you’ll produce a healthy balance of gut flora due to the probiotic properties, which will help foster good gut health and further reduce chronic inflammation [R].
If you don't get enough fermented foods in your diet, then you should consider taking a probiotics supplement to help build your digestive system and good gut bacteria.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Probiotix (60 servings)
4. Eat More Pineapple
Pineapples are delicious and they’re rich in Bromelain. I know what you’re thinking, what the hell is Bromelain? Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme, which helps in post-workout inflammation, by reducing swelling, and joint pain [R]. With a simple addition of Pineapple a couple of times a week, you can help seriously reduce your post-workout inflammation and have a delicious tropical snack, right in the comfort of your suburban home. Don’t forget the banana boat.
Try adding frozen pineapple chunks to your protein smoothie, with a scoop of Glutamine and some Greek Yogurt.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT L-Glutamine (100 Servings, Unflavored)
4. Eat More Leafy Greens
Eating more greens is also a great way to naturally reduce post-workout inflammation. Foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and beets contain rich amounts of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Omega 3, and inflammation-fighting phytonutrients to promote a healthy immune system [R]. In addition to a healthy immune system, incorporating more greens into your diet will add the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function at optimum levels.
Combine Kale, Spinach, Tumeric, Pineapple Juice and Glutamine to conquer your post-workout inflammation.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT L-Glutamine (100 Servings, Unflavored)
5. Get Rid Of Refined Sugar
Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates are synonymous. Foods such as white rice, flour, corn, and bread are high in glycemic load and cause an increase in blood glucose levels, triggering your insulin to spike, and encouraging low-grade inflammation. Eating fewer refined sugars and simple carbohydrates will help mitigate your chances of acquiring unnecessary bouts of inflammation, and will also get you closer to your health and fitness goals. Ditch the dough dough, dumb dumb.
6. Cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) contains more than 30 phenolic compounds; one in particular called oleocanthal, which has been discovered to have natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Along with these 30 phenolic powerhouses, EVOO contains monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which can also help with post workout inflammation, and active recovery.
According to a study published in the Journal Of International Molecular Science, the Oleocanthal extracted from EVOO exhibits various modes of reducing inflammatory-related disease, including joint-degenerative disease, neuro-degenerative disease, and specific cancers [R]. With all the health-promoting powers of EVOO, you shouldn’t be cooking with anything else.
RELATED ARTICLE The Best Types Of Cooking Oil
7. Supplement With L-Glutamine
L-Glutamine is the most abundant conditionally essential amino acid in the human body. Conditional in the sense, that when our bodies are put under severe stress, we may not be able to produce enough for the demand. Prolonged periods of exercise and high-intensity training are associated with decreased intramuscular concentrations of Glutamine. Therefore it has been hypothesized that L-Glutamine supplementation may improve athletic performance by increasing immune system function, stimulating protein synthesis, reducing muscle soreness, improving muscle tissue repair, and reducing post-workout inflammation.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE Why L-Glutamine Is The Best Supplement To Reduce Soreness And Recover Faster
You can add 5g of unflavored Glutamine to your shakes, pre, or post-workout recovery drinks for faster recovery times, and decreased muscle soreness.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT L-Glutamine (100 Servings, Unflavored)
8. Cut Out Processed Meat
Processed meats are saturated with hormones, preservatives, and colorings, which are all direct sources of inflammation. Not to mention, that processed meats are loaded with sodium, which will cause water retention and bloat. It’s never a good look, on anyone.
A study conducted by the University of Nebraska and published in the Journal of American College Of Nutrition found that the consumption of processed red meat, was directly related to the gain of excess body fat, obesity, and inflammation [R]. So the next time you think about eating a maple syrup infused jimmy dean breakfast sausage think again.
9. Eat More Avocado
Avocados are the superstar icons of the fruit world; they’re loaded with mono and polyunsaturated fats such as Omega-3, which have huge anti-inflammatory properties, which will help with your post-workout inflammation.
Add a spinach or kale salad to your dinner plate and load it up with Avocado. It’ll help with muscle soreness and make you happy.
10. Add A Greens + Reds Powder
Greens and reds powders contain powerful plant compounds, abundant with potent inflammation fighters like organic turmeric, beetroot, pomegranate, and organic spirulina. These superfood ingredients contain anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce chronic inflammation, improve health and exercise recovery.
Make sure when you're looking for a greens and reds supplement, that they contain anti-inflammatory ingredients, and that it's proprietary blend free, otherwise you will not know if the product contains adequate doses to improve post workout inflammation.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT Greens+Reds (Natural Orange, 30 Servings)
How To Reduce Post-Workout Soreness And Inflammation: Takeaway
Post-workout inflammation is never fun. Being sore to the point, where you can barely move, or when it exerts so much pain and discomfort, that it affects your training, can be frustrating. If you want to heal your body and live a healthier well-balanced life, incorporate some of the above-mentioned ways to naturally you’re your post-workout inflammation. You’ll recover faster, you’ll get stronger, you’ll produce better results, and you’ll be happier. In the end, you’ll become a better athlete and competitor.
Want To Reduce Your Post-Workout Inflammation so you can recover faster and reduce your pain?
L-Glutamine is made with 100% pharmaceutical grade micronized L-Glutamine. Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which helps rebuild repair and recover muscle mass after strenuous exercise to reduce muscle breakdown and exercise-induced muscle soreness.* Glutamine also supports healthy immune function promotes a positive nitrogen balance and promotes protein synthesis. Faster recovery times between training sessions will help increase training volume and endurance.
SWOLVERINE is an endurance athlete and active lifestyle brand. Made for the elite athlete, and the strong-willed our products were designed to fuel your athletic performance. We perform when you perform.
We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.
- Maroon JC, Bost JW. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 2006;65(4):326-31.
- Mashhadi, Nafiseh Shokri et al. “Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence.” International Journal of Preventive MedicineSuppl 1 (2013): S36–S42. Print.
- Tamang, Jyoti P. et al. “Functional Properties of Microorganisms in Fermented Foods.” Frontiers in Microbiology7 (2016): 578. PMC. Web. 19 Feb. 2018.
- Rathnavelu, Vidhya et al. “Potential Role of Bromelain in Clinical and Therapeutic Applications.” Biomedical Reports3 (2016): 283–288. PMC. Web. 19 Feb. 2018
- Publishing, Harvard Health. “Foods that fight inflammation.” Harvard Health, health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation.
- Parkinson L, Keast R. Oleocanthal, a phenolic derived from virgin olive oil: a review of the beneficial effects on inflammatory disease. Int J Mol Sci. 2014;15(7):12323-34.
- Chai, Weiwen et al. “Dietary Red and Processed Meat Intake and Markers of Adiposity and Inflammation: The Multiethnic Cohort Study.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 36.5 (2017): 378–385. PMC. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.
- Rajesh M, Mukhopadhyay P, Bátkai S, et al. Cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007;293(1):H610-9.
- Ribeiro A, Ferraz-de-paula V, Pinheiro ML, et al. Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic plant-derived cannabinoid, decreases inflammation in a murine model of acute lung injury: role for the adenosine A(2A) receptor. Eur J Pharmacol. 2012;678(1-3):78-85. [Pub Med]