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Preventing muscle soreness after exercise. Written by Alice Mika, Dietitian

With gyms reopening very soon and many people planning a return to exercise, muscle recovery or the prevention of muscle soreness can become an important consideration.

One of the most important factors to consider for recovery following exercise is the nutritional adequacy of your post exercise meal.

Following exercise, your nutrition priority should be to replenish muscle glycogen stores and support the recovery and rebuilding of muscle.

To achieve this, ensure that you begin rehydrating with water shortly after the conclusion of your session. Food for recovery after exercise ideally contains a combination of carbohydrates (grains, pasta, bread) and lean protein (meat, dairy). Ensuring that you consume a meal or snack containing these key nutrients will help replenish your body’s stores and optimise recovery. Some foods, like milk or milk-based smoothies, contain a combination of carbohydrate, protein and hydration, and are therefore a great option following exercise, however there are many other options.

Some examples are:

  • Yoghurt and muesli

  • Lean meat (like chicken) and salad roll

  • Tuna, crackers and a banana.

Magnesium – does it prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)?

DOMS is the term used to describe the muscle soreness that occurs after some types of exercise. Magnesium supplementation has previously been suggested to improve muscle recovery and reduce the likelihood or impact of DOMS following exercise.

More recently, it has been identified that oral magnesium supplementation is not believed to possess any benefits, for either performance or recovery in individuals with adequate magnesium levels in their body already. This means that most people are unlikely to experience significant improvements in recovery with supplementation unless their magnesium levels are low to begin with.

Individuals at risk of deficiency are those with a low energy intake, or who are undertaking long term, high volume training, like long distance runners. Though unlikely, if you think you are at risk of magnesium deficiency it is best to visit your GP to have your levels checked prior to supplementing.

Most people who eat a balanced diet, rich in vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts and gains are likely to have adequate levels of magnesium in the body already.

What happens if your body has enough magnesium and you take a supplement anyway? Our bodies are very good at regulating the amount of minerals in our body and will absorb only the quantity needed.

Alice is an accredited practicing dietitian who has always had an interest in nutrition, sport, and the human body. She is also a competitive cheer leader who has represented Australia at the world cheer leading championships. Alice is available for Telehealth consults and face to face appointments on Thursday afternoons. You can book an appointment with Alice by calling 9372 8091 or via our website.

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