Have you ever dread going for dance training or rehearsals because of muscle soreness? We’ve all been there.
The muscle pain that you experience after strenuous physical activity is known as delayed muscle soreness (DOMS). The pain and soreness are due to the breakdown of muscle fibers and it usually sets in 24-72 hours after exercise. Often times this happens when you learn a new movement.
However, if you are experiencing DOMS frequently from movements you are familiar with, you might want to reconsider your diet and how it is fueling your body.
By staying hydrated and eating the right nutrients required, you can help your body reduce soreness, and build stronger muscles. Here are 4 nutrients you should eat to relieve muscle soreness and recover faster!
The higher the intensity of your dance training, the higher the increase production of free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. What your body needs is to reduce lactic acid production and oxidative stress from your frequently worked muscles.
This is where antioxidants are a big help! They help to reduce neutralize free radicals and inflammatory reactions, as well as repair cells and tissue.
Antioxidants include vitamins such as C, E, A, beta-carotene. For whole foods, you may opt for all fruits (especially fresh berries), leafy greens, carrots, and other yellow vegetables.
If you’re looking to hydrate yourself with antioxidants, beetroot juice is a great option although you may have to get accustomed to the flavour. Having said that, they have shown to reduce oxidative stress and boost performance with its natural nitrates.
The recommended intakes are five to six servings a day of fruits and vegetables. This high intake will show a noticeable difference in how fast you can recover from your back-to-back training.
Contrary to certain diet beliefs, carbohydrates are essential to dancers who put in a lot of energy during training.
Carbohydrates are your source to replenish energy. They help to refill the glycogen stores which is an important storage form of energy located in your liver and muscles. Dancers usually use this energy for short burst dance combinations such as quick and repeated jumps.
The key here is to not overconsume which will then be stored as fats. Even if you’re having a long day, try your best to eat within one hour after exercising or dancing. Within that period of time, it is easier to fill your glycogen stores with nutrient-dense sources of carbs.
Healthy carbohydrates include whole grains such as oats, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, brown rice, etc. For breakfast or snacks, try out yogurt with granola and berries, or peanut butter on whole-grain toast.
Whey protein is low in lactose content and contains all 9 essential amino acids that make it a complete protein. These amino acids help to rebuild tiny muscle tears that cause muscle soreness after engaging in strenuous physical activity.
Ideally, it is preferable to take protein from food sources that do not contribute to increased inflammation. Pro-inflammatory food sources include red meat, sausage, bacon, and other processed meats.
Instead, try getting whey protein from foods such as yogurt, milk, cheese, and whey protein. Some protein bars may include whey protein, so make sure you check the ingredients before purchase!
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to study author Chris McGlory, Ph.D., of McMaster University in Canada, omega-3s have shown to increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis. By doing so, it helps your body to produce proteins to speed up the process of building and repairing muscles.
Other benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include reducing inflammation, helps to deliver blood to muscles when dancing, and improves the immune system. It also helps to promote lung, heart, and joint health.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts, soybean oil, and canola. Although there are fish oil supplements that are effective as well, it is recommended to intake primarily from whole food first.
Why not have salmon with pasta and vegetable as dinner? It’s yummy, filling, and has tons of nutrients you need! For a proper serving of fish, it should be as big as the size of your palm.
Keep Yourself Hydrated!
While you’re fueling yourself with all the above healthy nutrients, it is important to always keep yourself hydrated.
The toxins in your body are one of the factors that cause muscle soreness. By drinking plenty of water, your body is able to flush out the toxins and prevent dehydration.
How much is enough? The best is to have a large 1-liter water bottle with you all the time and drink at least 3 full bottles of water throughout the day.
If you’re finding ways to dance longer and prevent dance injuries, check out these tips on Tips on How To Prevent Dance Injuries!
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