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8 Ways To Use Your Workout and Recovery Routine To Reduce Inflammation

Writer: RACHEL LAPIDOS | Outlet: Well and Good

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A typical workout equation involves your exercise and subsequent soreness, depending on how hard you push yourself. That soreness, when it happens, indicates inflammation (but not necessarily bad inflammation). That equation can be swapped, though—experts say that certain exercises and recovery habits can actually reduce muscle inflammation.

“The inflammation [from muscle soreness] is from your body, which is working to heal the micro-tears or micro-injuries from your workout,” says Alexis Chiang Colvin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Mount Sinai. “That’s how you build muscle.”

But, according to physical therapist and yoga pro Lara Heimann, PT, founder of LYT Method, inflammation from exercise is a big indication that your body isn’t prepared to do that movement.

“If you’ve prepared your body well, then you should be able to do high-intensity exercises [without inflammation],” says Heimann. “You might have some residual soreness, which can happen when you use your muscles, but it shouldn’t be that you’re so sore and inflamed that you can’t walk the next day.” That inflammation can happen from a number of causes—from muscle imbalances to improper form—that you can avoid.

Certain forms of movement can also reduce inflammation. “Really good movement will help any inflammation that is existing within the body,” says Heimann. And by really good she means efficient and balanced. Jeremy James, DC, a chiropractor, certified strength and conditioning specialist, and founder of FitForever, echoes this, noting that regular low-to-moderate and moderately-intense exercise can combat inflammation. “When performed in ways that are healthy for your spine and joints, exercise can reduce inflammation,” he says.