Nobody understands muscle fatigue quite like athletes. When your muscles feel worn and strained after exercise, whether that's from a quick run or a full-on sports game, you just don't want to do anything. Thankfully, we've found some ways to deal with this over the years, and one of the most successful methods is through the use of magnesium.
By using magnesium, sports recovery becomes a lot more manageable and relieving overall. So, let's take a look at the importance of magnesium in sports recovery.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is one of many essential minerals. It contributes to more than 600 bodily functions and is required by almost every cell in the body, with a particular focus on muscles. Some of the bodily functions that require magnesium are energy creation, gene maintenance, and protein formation.
Exercise leads to lowered levels of magnesium. Magnesium is an electrolyte -- it's used to conduct electrical impulses and action potentials like muscle contractions. It also helps sustain your energy levels while you're working out.
Magnesium doesn't stop working when you do, though. It keeps on pushing, helping your muscles relax and stopping them from spasming and cramping up. On top of that, magnesium also helps replenish your red blood cells, which are responsible for giving your body oxygen during a workout.
Even further, magnesium is an anti-inflammatory mineral. In fact, it's one of the strongest anti-inflammatories there is. Considering all this, magnesium has a pretty big job in the body. It's not just necessary in muscle recovery, it's crucial.
Knowing all this highlights how serious a magnesium deficiency is in the human body. Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in adults. If you have a magnesium deficiency, whether you work out or not, it's important to get those levels back up.
Recovering Your Magnesium Levels
You'll be happy to know that there are a number of ways to replenish your magnesium naturally and otherwise. The most effective ways is to adopt all of the approaches at once!
1. To start with, magnesium is found in tons of food. You can find it in spinach, quinoa, whole grains, cashews, almonds, and more. Some of the most magnesium-rich foods beyond those listed previously include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Cereal/shredded wheat
- Baked potato with skin
- Brown rice
2. Magnesium supplements are available at most drug stores, and your doctor can make specific recommendations if necessary.
3. Transdermal aborption in a warm, relaxing magnesium-enriched salt bath, or an easy magnesium spray.
A salt bath allows you to absorb the minerals in the water transdermally via osmosis. Essentially, that means your body is absorbing the magnesium through the skin all-over for a more whole experience. If you don't have prolonged magnesium deficiency, this is a fantastic option for you (you can find out how prolonged your magnesium deficiency might be from your doctor).
There are a few different ways a magnesium salt bath helps your muscles recover. First off, magnesium levels in the blood are replenished through the skin, which helps relax your muscles, reduce spasms and cramping, encourage, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and restores your red blood cells. On top of that you get the benefits of a hot bath, which means further muscle relaxing and the release of lactic acid.
Who knew sitting in a tub of water could offer so many benefits?
The Top Magnesium Benefits
Magnesium has a ton of amazing benefits to the body. While we've mentioned some of them above briefly, these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you weren't convinced before, prepare to be convinced now by these other amazing benefits of magnesium.
Improve Your Exercise Performance
Your body requires about 10-20% more magnesium when exercising than resting. Considering this, the higher your magnesium levels before a workout, the better your workout will be.
Lactate tends to build up during an exercise, and that means fatigue. Magnesium moves blood sugar into the muscles, effectively eliminating the lactate and shooing fatigue away. Studies have even shown that magnesium supplements helped athletes run, swim, and cycle faster during a triathlon.
Low levels of magnesium are linked to depression, and depression is linked to a decrease in activity level and and motivation.
People with exceptionally low magnesium levels are 22% more likely to suffer from depression. A simple increase in magnesium via supplements, food, or a good series of magnesium salt baths can make a dramatic difference in those with depression. In fact, some studies show magnesium is just as effective as traditional antidepressants in those with low magnesium levels.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
A rise in blood pressure is normal after a workout, but it's also good to regulate that blood pressure after a workout.
A magnesium salt bath will award you a significant blood pressure decrease, offering you further relaxation. In this way, magnesium is also great for those with diabetes and stress. It can help get your blood pressure back down to regular levels, offering you great health benefits.
Magnesium Salt Bath: The Options
You have two basic options when it comes to a magnesium salt bath: Epson salt or magnesium flakes.
Believe it or not, neither of these are actually salts. Each substance is also chemically different. Magnesium flake is made of chloride and magnesium, while Epson salts are made of sulfate and magnesium.
Each option has its own benefits, but the most important part is this: they both contain a lot of magnesium. Both are equally potent and useful for soothing sore muscles, especially when use in a bath. If you want to learn more about magnesium flakes and Epsom salt, click here.
Using Magnesium Bath Salts for Sports Recovery
Setting up a soothing magnesium bath is as simple as measuring, pouring, and soaking.
If you have a standard sized tub, take two cups of magnesium flakes and add them to your warm bathwater. You should double this amount if you have an oversized tub. Soak in the tub for at least 20 minutes for the full effects, and repeat this process three times a week for 2-4 weeks, or after each exercise session for regular exercisers.
The feet often experience a lot of muscle fatigue, so you should also try a relaxing foot bath. Fill a tub with warm water, and add about 3/4 of a cup of magnesium flakes or salts per 10 litres. Wait for all the granules to dissolve, then soak your feet for a good 20 minutes or more -- it's your soak, enjoy it!
Pay your feet dry with a soft towel, and repeat this process 3 times a week for 2-4 weeks to treat ongoing symptoms of muscle fatigue.
You don't have to wait for your muscles to tire to take a magnesium bath, though. It's impossible to take too many magnesium baths, so if you enjoy the relaxation it gives you, don't hesitate to add magnesium to your bath any time you wish.
Note: Make sure your bath isn't too hot, as this will hurt the efficacy of the minerals. A warm bath is recommended, but not a scolding hot one.
When You Don't Have Time for a Bath
While a magnesium bath is the best way to recover your muscles after a workout, sometimes you don't have the time. If that's the case, why not try a magnesium oil spray?
Magnesium spray allows you to absorb your magnesium transdermally like a bath, only in a more efficient, targeted way. Our Zechstein Magnesium spray is made of pure magnesium chloride from the ancient Zechstein Sea, the purest natural magnesium source on earth. It's free of all pollutants and heavy metals, and easy to take with you to the gym.
All you need to do is spray the bottle anywhere you feel muscle fatigue and enjoy the energising benefits. You can use it in the morning, before and after workouts, or before bed for the best results. It may not be as effective or overall relaxing as a magnesium bath, but it gets the job done in a pinch.
You can read more about the benefits of magnesium oil spray here.
Magnesium Sports Recovery: The Best Practice
By using magnesium, sports recovery doesn't just become a lot easier, it also becomes enjoyable. Who doesn't want an excuse to take a soothing bath a few times a week? So, get your favorite magnesium bath salts together and get relaxing -- your muscles will thank you for it.
If you're looking for bath salts of all kinds, see what The Salt Box has to offer you.