“The Morning After a Workout”

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When you start a new workout routine, or simply increase the intensity of your usual workout… you may feel great initially! But when you wake up the next morning that great feeling may subside, and all you can focus on is the constant ache and pain of your muscles.

This acute muscle pain is known as delayed onset muscle soreness.  It typically occurs several hours (or even 24-74) hours after an exercise.  It is usually experienced as muscular pain and tenderness.

It was once considered that the presence of lactic acid caused such pain in the muscles, but today it is known that lactic acid is removed from the muscle within an hour of intense exercise, and can’t therefore cause the delayed onset muscle soreness which normally begins about a day later.  It is now hypothesized that small ruptures in the muscle fibers (microfilaments of the muscle fibers) as well as ion leakage is the cause of the delayed onset of the muscle soreness.

One study examined the effect of massage on alleviating the pain of delayed onset muscle soreness.  This study had found that massage was effective in alleviating delayed onset muscle soreness by approximately 30% and reducing swelling (Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, 2006).  Another hypothesis, which is very popular and known to many, is that light exercise may alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness, and enhance recovery from muscle damage.  A study looked at this hypothesis and found that light exercise performed daily after maximal exercise inducing muscle damage has a temporarily analgesic (pain relief) effect on muscle soreness and tenderness; however, no beneficial effects on alleviating delayed onset muscle soreness and enhancing recovery of muscle function were found (Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism, 2006). Further study is necessary to investigate how the analgesic (pain relief) effect is produced and the extent of its duration.

Another interesting study that I found looked at the affect of warm up and cool down during an exercise routine.  Fifty-two healthy adults (23 men and 29 women aged 17 to 40 years) were examined and the study found that warm-up reduced perceived muscle soreness 48 hours after exercise; however cool-down had no apparent effect. In conclusion, warm-up performed immediately prior to exercise produces small reductions in delayed onset muscle soreness but cool-down performed after exercise does not (Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 2007).  Again further study is needed to demonstrate these results and their mechanisms of action.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is normal and doesn’t necessarily mean that you have damaged a muscle or have an injury.  There is some evidence that shows a reduction in pain with massage, light exercise, as well as a warm up prior to exercise may reduce the perceived muscle soreness.  Continued use of the sore muscle also has no adverse effect on recovery from delayed onset muscle soreness and does not increase muscle damage. It is also important to determine the optimum strategies for rest and/or activity in aiding recovery from exercise induced muscle damage.

You can prevent delayed muscle soreness by gradually increasing the intensity of a new exercise program.  If the damage has been done, it usually disappears by itself 72 hours to several days after the exercise.  And the next time you work out your muscles will be “ready” and you will probably not be sore again…

What is Vinegar?

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This post is dedicated to a special person that is confused over vinegar … 😉

Vinegar is prepared by the process of fermentation to cause sugars to break down into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide gas.  During a second fermentation, bacteria assist the alcohol to react with oxygen in the air to form acetic acid (which is the vinegar).  Vinegars range from different percentages of acetic acid (4-9%).  This level of acidity makes vinegar useful in preserving food, as bacteria cannot grow in such strong acid.  The acidity also enhances the flavor of food.  The most popular vinegars are made form grapes, apples, barley, maize, and rice.

Vinegar has no nutritional or caloric values.  Therefore often it is associated with weight loss and dieting.  Some studies even suggest that it can influence satiety! One study looked at the consumption of wheat bread served with vinegar vs. wheat bread served without vinegar by 15 healthy subjects.  The wheat bread with vinegar resulted in significantly higher satiety than the wheat bread meal without vinegar.  This may be explained by increased digestion after ingestion of the bread (Nutritional Journal, 2008). Another study indicates vinegar has the potential of reducing responses of blood glucose and insulin, and increasing the subjective rating of satiety (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005). In conclusion, consuming vinegar with food may increases satiety and reduces the amount of food consumed, hence help in weight loss.

Vinegar does not have any side effects, if consumed in reasonable amounts.  As indicated above it could help in weight management, and possibly help lower blood glucose (treatment for diabetics?).  Due to its acidity it can be used as a preservative, as well as an antibacterial solution.