Inflammation- A natural healing process.

Inflammation- Natural Healing

When we think of inflammation, we tend to think of the damage it does to the body. Lately, new research has discovered that inflammation is actually responsible for healing the body. It has powerful healing effects and is a big part of the immune system. We need inflammation to build muscles, heal from injuries and even get us through some physically tough days. The way it works is that whenever we exercise, run, do strength training, we cause trauma to the muscles, this triggers inflammation, which starts releasing chemicals and hormones to repair the tissue and build up stronger muscle fibers. Inflammation also helps to build up stronger bones, whenever we perform strength training, the heavy load results in some tiny divots in the bones, inflammation helps to fill the holes and build stronger bones.

What happens when we get injured?

As we know, inflammation is responsible for healing and recovery of injuries. As soon as we get injured for example a sprained ankle, white blood cells are immediately released. These white blood cells assess the damage and boost some molecules to activate protein cells. That’s when the ankle swells up and turns red, all this inflammation process brings immune cells to the injured area to start the healing process.

When is inflammation healthy?

Inflammation is healthy only in moderation. When we over-train, don’t rest enough and inflammation becomes chronic, that’s when it becomes a danger and creates wear and tear on healthy tissues and organs. The key to benefit from post-training inflammation is to keep it balanced.

Tips to benefit from healthy healing inflammation post-training:

Stretch and move– Post workout, don’t sit or not move. In order to keep the inflammation healthy, make sure you move around after your training to keep the blood flow going in the affected areas. This will ensure that the waste products get flushed out so the body can repair itself. That means walk around, perform some yoga moves, stretch and foam roll.

Tolerate the pain– When we experience soreness after long runs or intense workouts, sometimes we are tempted to take some Ibuprofen. Unfortunately, taking anti-inflammatory medication prevents normal exercised-induced inflammation which will keep the body from building and strengthening the muscles, making your training less efficient. Also, taking anti-inflammatory medication can increase the risk of injuries by interfering with bone rebuilding, causing stress fractures and osteoporosis.

Take a rest day– Long endurance runs or very intense training creates free radical molecules that can damage cells. If you keep pushing and don’t take a day off, your body won’t be able to release antioxidants to fight the free radical molecules which will result in oxidative stress on the body, meaning this chronic inflammation which tears down muscles instead of building them up. Some symptoms of oxidative stress include; low energy and motivation, trouble sleeping, frequent illness etc… When you experience these symptoms, that means that at least two full rest days are needed to recover.

Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!