Are you waking up each morning with stiff achy joints & tight muscles despite doing your mobility & stretching routine after each workout?
Do you have nagging pain or numbness that’s waking you up at night?
Does your body feel like it’s 80 years old each morning?
These are signs that your body is struggling to recover and circulate nutrients needed to repair tendons, ligaments, muscles & joints after workouts & life’s stressors.
Good circulation is key to effectively recover from workouts & life’s stressors.
The better your circulation the less aches, pains & stiffness you will have.
Nitric oxide levels are a key indicator of your circulation capabilities.
As you get older your body body’s ability to circulate blood effectively declines due to declining levels of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a molecule that your body makes to dilate your blood vessels.
When you’re deficient in nitric oxide your body is struggles to get oxygen & nutrients into your cells and carbon dioxide plus other metabolic waste products out of your cells.
Without adequate nitric oxide you can’t get in the cells what the muscle cells need to repair from workouts and the by products of muscle breakdown can’t get out effectively.
So you’re left with increased pain, stiffness, tightness & soreness due to reduced production of nitric oxide not allowing your blood vessels to get nutrients in & out of your cells.
The good news is that you can test your levels of nitric oxide easily using your saliva to see exactly how much nitric oxide you are producing.
And you can use the same saliva test strips to monitor your levels of nitric oxide on a weekly basis to ensure you have adequate levels.
In addition to nitric oxide interfering with your circulation, being stuck in fight or flight mode also impedes your circulation.
When you’re stressed out & anxious your circulation is affected.
Stress causes the body to direct blood flow to your arms & legs to prepare you to run away from a predator.
Sadly, the body isn’t primed to heal muscles, tendons & ligaments that support the joints when it’s in fight or flight mode.
Unfortunately, your body doesn’t know the difference between a bear chasing you & your boss nagging you.
So being stressed out, anxious, overwhelmed & not taking fun breaks during the day for years causes your body to slow down your circulation & your metabolism.
Leaving you with inflammatory proteins stuck in the joints, muscles, tendons & ligaments.
Chronic pain, chronic trauma, PTSD & life’s stressors all keep the body stuck in an inflamed state.
The longer you ignore your stressors the more your body loses control over inflammation.
Chronic pain is perceived by your cave person brain to be similar to a bear taking swipes at you.
The longer the bear is taking at you the more the brain struggles to send messages down the vagus nerve to keep inflammation in check.
By putting yourself into the rest & chill parasympathetic nervous system state more often during the day by taking breaks, having fun & resting you can regain control of your circulation, inflammation & stress.
The more fun, chill & rest you insert into your day the better you’ll recover from your day & workouts.
Unfortunately, working hard all day & not taking breaks is considered the way to get ahead in life.
It’s possible that your daily stressors carry over into your workouts & are preventing you from recovering effectively.
Chances are you are spending your day with your muscles tense, holding your breath or taking short breaths.
Holding your breath & taking short breaths send signals to your brain that you’re in stress mode.
The body’s response is to keep your muscles tense to protect you from a perceived threat.
The longer your muscles are tense due to stress; the less nutrients, like oxygen, magnesium, & antioxidants are able to get into your muscle cells.
To signal to your brain that you are not under attack from the days stressors – add the following to your routine:
- take a 2-5 minute break every hour or 15-20 minute break for every 4 hours of work a day
- take the time to walk, play, close your eyes – don’t spend the time scrolling on social media!
- move during your breaks to increase circulation
- do one thing a day that’s fun for you aka play
- yawn as much as you can to re-set your nervous system from daily stress
- take a deep breath in & out before each meal
- do a 5 minute round of positional parasympathetic breathing after each workout
By adding these simple habits to your routine you’ll enhance your ability to manage stress & boost your workout recovery capabilities.
Two commonly overlooked stressors to the body are diet & sleep habits.
If these two aren’t addressed in addition to keeping the body in chill mode it’s going to be tough to enhance your circulation & hence recovery.
Ensure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night to maximize your body’s ability to repair as all of these tools & tips in this blog will not be maximally effective if you are not sleeping.
What you eat & drink can interfere with your circulation.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, certain dietary habits impede your circulation causing you to develop pain, & affects your ability to recover effectively.
Foods & drinks that are ice cold, frozen or right out of the fridge are considered to slow circulation down due to their temperature.
Consider this, if you put ice on your skin it numbs the skin and decreases circulation.
What do you think that frozen or cold food or drink is doing in your gut?
The same goes for raw foods.
The following are foods & drinks to avoid in excess:
- ice water or iced drinks
- ice cream
- dairy products
- raw foods
- cold smoothies
- cold food right out of the fridge
By working to pair cold foods such as salads with warm proteins or raw foods such as sushi with ginger & wasabi you can increase the warmth of the food and hence prevent slow downs in circulation.
You can use your diet to boost circulation and enhance recovery on a daily basis.
The following foods and spices boost circulation:
- cayenne & other spicy peppers
- clove, nutmeg, allspice
- black pepper
Paying attention to the amount of processed & fast food you consume lessens the load of things that stress your body on a daily basis.
If you’re noticing that certain foods cause you to have swelling of the joints, hands, ankles or provoke pain in the joints or gastric upset it’s key to create a food journal to identify these foods.
You can also consider food sensitivity testing to know if there are certain foods that are causing delayed reactions within your body, hijacking your cell’s ability to detox & interfering with your ability to recover from the day & workouts.
If you want to learn more about food sensitivities check out US Biotek for more information.
Now that you’ve seen what needs to be done internally to boost circulation let’s talk about the best techniques to enhance recovery.
The Tools You Need to Know About to Boost Recovery.
When you want to get the most out of your recovery routine you want to think about what enhances circulation.
Anything that stimulates the nervous system will stimulate circulation as the body’s response to a stimulus includes increased blood flow to the area that is affected.
If you are hurting in the same joints, tendons, muscles or ligaments it’s best to stimulate those areas daily to get a response from the body.
There are many tools out there to trigger the body to promote circulation and all have an effect but the following are a list tools that get the best results:
- cupping therapy
- gua sha aka “Graston” or scraping technique therapy
- percussive therapy – ex: “Theragun”
- dry needling
- tens unit – muscle stimulators ex: Power Dots, Compex
- soft tissue mobility tools ex: Kabuki Strength tools, or for a lighter touch Yamuna Balls
- infrared light therapy ex: Joov, Biophotas panels
- peptides injections – small protein fragments that boost recovery
- trigger point injections with peptides, vitamins or minerals
If the list of tools above overwhelms you, don’t panic, it’s best to try one out at a time and see what works best for you.
There are many practitioners, like myself, that utilize all of these tools within a treatment to get the body primed for recovery.
Finding someone well versed in these techniques near you is a great place to start to learn how your body responds to these tools.
3 Recovery Techniques You Want to Try to Get the Quickest Results
Having a recovery session once a month can be a game changer.
Acupuncture combined with cupping, guasha, muscle stimulation, myofascial work & soft tissue mobility tools has long been the most effective combination amongst my clients.
While it sounds like a lot going on during that acupuncture session it’s quite effective as acupuncture not only enhances circulation it helps the body to get easily into the parasympathetic chill mode.
Acupuncture helps your mind & body get “unstuck”.
As mentioned earlier in this post, stress management is a huge factor in how well you recover.
If your mind is in a state of fight or flight mode all the time it’s hard to stick with a recovery routine let alone calm the mind enough to get the benefits of recovery treatments.
Acupuncture has the ability to tap into the nervous system of the body by triggering an endorphin release that relieves pain & subsequently calms the nervous system on a deeper level.
Because acupuncture is not just about pain, it’s about looking at what is out of balance in an individual it also taps into stimulating rejuvenation on a deeper level.
The areas that you commonly have pain give acupuncture practitioners clues as to what is out of balance in your body and needles can be placed to not only bring circulation to the areas of pain but to also work to correct imbalances within other organs & systems in the body.
Acupuncture goes much deeper than just circulation in the area of pain.
It taps into your subconscious to help it recover from the day’s stressors.
Infrared therapy when combined with acupuncture enhances the body’s ability to detox stressed cells and allow them to uptake nutrients for repair.
Infrared therapy boosts circulation at a cellular level.
Your cells have receptors for red light.
When your cells are exposed to red light they are stimulated to boost cellular metabolism & repair.
When combined with acupuncture infrared therapy enhances circulation, detox & metabolism of the area being treated.
It essentially gives an added boost to the body’s response to acupuncture’s stimulating effects.
While acupuncture & infrared therapy are more broad in their affect on recovery, peptides are targeted tools to address specific injuries in need of repair.
Peptides – small proteins that stimulate repair, rejuvenation & recovery.
You want to consider peptides when you are struggling with a new or chronic injury, tendonitis & overtraining conditions.
Specific peptides can be targeted to aid in the repair of your tendons, ligaments or muscles.
Peptide protocols of 1-3 months can be incredibly effective for those that are overtrained, plagued with chronic injuries or just want to rejuvenate tendons, ligaments or muscles.
Combining peptides with acupuncture and soft tissue mobilization tools can elicit great results.
The following peptides are extremely effective for recovery:
- BPC 157 – tendon, ligament & muscle strain, sprain, tendonitis & overtraining
- TB 500 – muscle injury, muscle wasting, overtraining
To utilize peptides it’s recommended to be under the supervision of a doctor as they are injected into the body.
Maximizing your recovery from your day & your workouts increases longevity.
The better you are at recovering from stress the better you will age.
Maintaining optimal circulation to your tendons, ligaments, joints & muscles will keep you moving & crushing workouts for life.
If you want to live independently and thrive well into your 80’s it’s key to master your recovery.
Being pain free & mobile helps you maintain your youth, metabolism, mood and energy levels.
What’s all the hard work in the gym for if you are living in chronic pain & unable to move effortlessly?
Curious about how you can step up your recovery game?
Let’s chat I offer 1:1 FREE recovery assessments – click HERE to schedule a session now.