When you keep your body healthy and active, exercise-induced muscle pain is common. Rest, good nutrition and keeping your body hydrated are all important; one area that is commonly overlooked is the state of your nervous system during recovery.
During exercise it is easy to understand that our muscles, lungs and heart are working… but what controls those muscles? Your nerves. You not only need recovery to those tissues and organs, but you need to be able to reset the nervous system as well.
Your parasympathetic nervous system is the center of control where your body rests, digests, and heals itself. The body is designed to spend most of the day in parasympathetic control. Stress (physical, mental, and chemical) to the body starts to shut off the control of that parasympetic nervous system, and the body shifts into sympathetic control. Many times people get stuck in sympathetic (flight or fight) due to prolonged stressors and their bodies do not have the capability to heal itself. The parasympathetic nervous system needs to be working properly in order for your muscles to heal.
Exercise is a physical stress to the body, even if you don’t feel sore. Looking at it short term, it is a good stress; but it’s stress nonetheless. Make sure you take care of yourself post-workout. Stretch your muscles. Drink half of your body weight in ounces throughout the day. Eat a nutrient dense diet. Do relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga. Get your nervous system checked by a chiropractor. Get a good nights sleep, aim for 8 hours.