Find natural relief from inflammation to maintain your active lifestyle

While living an active lifestyle delivers numerous benefits, our workouts, walks, runs and cycles may create inflammation that leads to stiffness and soreness and exposes us to a range of aches and pains.

Inflammation is a natural response to the stresses that we put our bodies through,” explains Biokineticist, Kevin Oliver.

Inflammation is also the body’s natural response to injury or trauma, serving as a defensive mechanism that helps boost immunity and kickstart the tissue repair process.

Most sports injuries including sprains, strains, fractures, and tendonitis result in inflammation, and addressing it is often a crucial aspect of pain relief and healing.

Inflammation defined

Inflammation is characterised by swelling, pain, heat, redness, and loss of function. Managing inflammation is essential to avoid a prolonged or chronic inflammatory state, to reduce pain and restore functionality.

Conventional treatments may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid medications.

However, many people pursuing healthy lifestyles prefer natural and holistic solutions that are free from side-effects.

Preventing issues

Preparation and strengthening routines can help to improve the resilience of the body and reduce incidents of inflammation. Ensuring that you have sufficient mobility and stability to undertake your chosen physical activities is crucial,” continues Oliver.

“One of my top tips is for people to take 10 minutes before they start their workout to do some preparation work that involves some fascial release, using mobility tools such as a roller to warm up areas that you are going to use in your upcoming exercise routine.”

Oliver recommends adding quick active mobility drills that prepare the neuro-muscular system for activity, such as leg swings for runners or arm swings and rotations for golfers.

“It helps to get professional advice to work out an efficient routine that is tailored to the pending exercise.”

A post-workout routine is also important, adds Oliver. This should involve some passive stretching to counteract any potential muscle shortening.

Local vs systemic

It is also important to consider whether inflammation is local or systemic. To mitigate against systemic inflammation, take into account factors such as hydration and nutrition. Reducing and avoiding refined sugars and alcohol improves the management of inflammation.

“To treat local inflammation after exercise, consider solutions such as ice baths and topical remedies that you can apply to the affected area,” elaborates Oliver.

“The main reason to reduce inflammation is often to ensure you don’t miss out on your next workout, but remember that inflammation is an immune response to promote healing and you don’t want to skip out on getting sufficient rest after training that has stressed the body.”

Including some form of active recovery, such as a day of gentle walking or swimming rather than a workout. “This will ensure that you are adequately recovered and ready to take on your next exercise session.”

Nature’s anti-inflammatories

“Nature is bountiful when it comes to plants with anti-inflammatory properties. Essential oils such as peppermint, rosemary, ginger and eucalyptus are just some of the highly effective ingredients in aromatherapy anti-inflammatory solutions,” says Doryce Sher, founder of Aromatic Apothecary, who is both a qualified pharmacist and aromatherapist.

“The other beauty of nature’s anti-inflammatory ingredients is that they offer both warming and cooling properties.”

Sher explains that conventional treatments for muscle, ligament, and joint inflammation involve ice packs, which is effective at reducing inflammation in injured tissues.

“However, alternating warming and cooling provides an additional healing boost, as warming helps to increase circulation, bringing fresh, oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the injury site.”

Aromatic Apothecary has also focused on creating a range of effective anti-inflammatory essential oils, with fast-acting formulations in easy-to-use formats that fit the modern, on-the-go lifestyle. The Sport range includes roll-on, spray-on and rub-in products that can be frequently applied on-the-go and provide quick relief throughout the busy day.

  • Aromatic Apothecary SPORT Roll-on Relief is gel-based, with a roll-on applicator that delivers active ingredients that are quickly absorbed into the sore muscle or joint and provides a mini-massage.
  • Aromatic Apothecary SPORT Spray on Relief delivers a water-based solution ideal for larger, sore areas, such as an entire foot or shoulder. No massage is necessary and there’s no sticky or oily hands.
  • Aromatic Apothecary SPORT Rub in Relief is an easily absorbed cream that needs a brief rub into sore muscles and joints for targeted relief.

“What’s important in pursuing an active lifestyle is that you are mindful about the care of your musculoskeletal system,” continues Doryce.

“You not only want to avoid serious injury that disrupts your exercise routine, but also the persistent aches and pains that degrade your well-being. It’s worth your while finding ways to get relief from inflammation using effective, natural products, performing warm-ups and cool-downs, and taking a rest day when your body needs it.”

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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