What is the relationship between stiffness and electro-stimulation? Can I train if I have stiffness? Is there any way to ease the pain of these uncomfortable muscle aches?
If you play sports regularly or own a sports center, gym or even a beauty salon, then you’ve probably asked yourself these questions at some point in your life. In this post, we will try to give you answers to all these questions, as well as talk about the diet you should follow to relieve pain from this kind of numbness, and the most effective methods to eliminate it. Let’s go!
What is stiffness?
When we try a new sport activity or intensify effort when exercising, we overwork our muscles. In these cases, it is most likely that the next day we will have discomfort as a result of broken muscle fibers, colloquially called stiffness.
In scientific jargon, these are called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscular Soreness). We can define them as the result of micro-tears produced in different muscles due to an overload of exercise which the body is not used to.
Therefore, whenever you perform an out-of-the-ordinary physical activity that is beyond your capacity, it is very likely that the body reacts by causing these micro-injuries in the form of muscle pain of greater or lesser intensity. However, you don’t need to worry, because within two to five days, they will disappear.
How to avoid stiffness?
Now that you know why you get stiffness or DOMS, it’s time to focus on ways to prevent it from occurring and not suffer the associated aches and pains that can impair your physical performance.
First of all, it is very important to warm up properly at the start and stretch properly at the end of the exercise. Secondly, practice sport on a regular basis. However, it is also essential to plan your training well so that you use the right load and intensity, and take a sensible amount of rest between sessions.
If you are going to start a new sport, don’t forget that it is important to set your goals at a basic level of activity and gradually increase the intensity.
Can I train with stiffness?
Knowing if we can train with stiffness is considered one of the eternal questions in the world of sport. Well, the answer is yes, you can train with stiffness, but with certain nuances.
We recommend doing gentle exercise, even if your body is asking you to rest. If you keep moving, you facilitate blood circulation and help your muscles to recover better. For example, if you have intensified your running training and they have appeared because you have overloaded your muscles, we advise you to change sport for a few days. Opt for more relaxed, higher-impact options like walking, swimming or going out for a bike ride on a flat trail.
How to get rid of stiffness?
Unfortunately, there is no treatment that is really 100% effective in eliminating it. However, we’ll give you some tips so that you can at least ease the pain of stiffness and speed up your recovery.
Electro-stimulation to relieve stiffness
Thanks to its technology, Wiemspro is the leading manufacturer in Europe of electro-stimulator suits with which you can adjust the intensity of your exercise according to your personal needs. We, as professionals in the sector, advise you to use it so that you can complete more focused, comfortable, safe and efficient training and avoid the appearance of DOMS. In addition, there are many benefits to training with electro-stimulation.
The functioning of these EMS suits is based on the strategic integration of some electrodes which produce a muscle stimulation which is very beneficial for the body. This, along with a healthy diet and physical exercise, will undoubtedly help you to improve your physical condition and noticeably improve your body composition.
Electro-stimulation will help to promote blood flow to the affected muscles. In this way, they will help you both to prevent stiffness and to regenerate your muscles when stiffness has already appeared.
When your muscles are stressed, they tend to get stiff and this accentuates the pain. With the help of massages, you will stimulate your blood and lymphatic circulation, promote elasticity and reduce the accumulated tension in the worked muscle groups. As a result, the pain will decrease and your complete recovery will be much faster.
We emphasize that these massages to prevent DOMS should be gentle, without sudden movements that may cause more pain than you currently have. The massage should be performed at a slow pace and with a medium superficial intensity.
Contrast baths are a great alternative if you want to relieve the discomfort caused by stiffness. It consists of using hot and cold baths consecutively. In this way, this treatment plays with the shock of temperatures to provoke different reactions in the body.
Hot water baths will help you to activate the blood flow in the affected area and thus speed up your recovery. On the other hand, cold baths will give you a pleasant analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect that will relieve your discomfort, as well as easily improving your mobility.
We recommend that after a high-intensity strength, power or speed exercise, you alternate thirty seconds of cold water, not too much, and two minutes of warm water. If you have done a high-volume activity, such as resistance work or muscle hypertrophy, the process will be similar but not exactly the same. In this case, we suggest that you combine thirty seconds of cold water, with the lowest temperature you can handle, and two minutes of lukewarm water.
Resting and eating well to relieve stiffness
As mentioned above, performing moderate exercise with stiffness will help your blood circulation and help your muscles recover more easily. However, if the pain they cause you is too intense and almost unbearable, it is better that you stop the physical activity and focus on resting your damaged muscles.
For example, if you join the gym and you haven’t integrated physical activity into your routine for a long time, it’s very likely that you’ll experience intense stiffness. This can occur after several training sessions or even after the first one. Therefore, it is very important that you rest for a few days so that your body takes the time it needs in this main phase of acclimatization to exercise. Remember that, in order to avoid the appearance of stiffness, you should increase the level of effort progressively.
“The right diet to relieve muscle pain should be characterized by anti-inflammatory properties”.
As far as nutrition is concerned, we’ll tell you that you must take it into account for an optimal recovery. You may have heard that it is good to drink sugar water when stiffness appears, but we would like to stress that this is a myth that you should not pay any attention to. It is true that doing so can give you more energy, by providing you with carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed, but sugar will not provide you with minerals. In fact, both sugar and any such carbohydrate with these characteristics will promote an imbalance of minerals in your body.
So, far from drinking sugar water, the right diet to relieve muscle pain should be characterized by anti-inflammatory properties. For example, cinnamon and ginger are highly recommended, as well as foods with Omega-3, such as oily fish. As well as those that are rich in phytochemicals, which are abundant in fruits, vegetables and grains, among other plants. You also can’t forget to include magnesium (green leafy vegetables) and vitamin C (citrus fruits and peppers).
To avoid the onset of stiffness, once you have finished your physical activity, it is advisable to replenish your glycogen stores and restore your long-chain amino acids. This means that you should eat carbohydrates such as pasta, rice or potatoes, and high biological value proteins such as eggs, dairy products, fish or meat. If you are vegan or vegetarian, forget this last point and go for vegetable proteins such as legumes or nuts.
So, what you should try to do with all these tips is to create a balanced diet, as you will acquire more minerals into your body. As such, you will have the right foundation to perform all your workouts without your muscles suffering too much and without having to reduce the intensity or frequency of your workouts.
Don’t forget to hydrate with plenty of water, as this is a key factor in preventing DOMS. When you exercise you lose water in the form of sweat and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Lack of the former can lead to muscle weakness and further muscle damage. And without the latter, you may suffer from muscle spasms or cramps.
Now you know the answers to how to avoid stiffness with electro-stimulation, massages or contrast treatments, what to do to calm the pain and whether or not you can play sport. We hope that if, at some point, you suffer from these muscular pains, you’ll take the advice we have given you in this article into account. If you want to learn more about this and other topics, we recommend that you subscribe to our blog. Go ahead and do it now!