Inflammation: Is it all bad?

December 7, 2017

We’ve all experienced it before, that uncomfortable, puffy, red swelling that comes with inflammation. But when it begins to interfere with your workout routine or daily habits, it can be a real drawback. It’s important to first understand what exactly causes inflammation and what you can do about it, in order to take the proper steps that are needed to recover.

The Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation can be short-term, and it all begins when the immune system notices that something is off, like twisting an ankle. The blood vessels that are leading to your twisted ankle begin to expand while the one’s moving away from it are shut off. This then causes your cytokines and white blood cells to pack in tight together. The swelling soon goes away once the pain and trauma have subsided. The blood vessels will then be able to enter and exit as they normally do.

Why Your Body Needs Inflammation

Inflammation from working out can be a good thing. Whenever getting in a workout, your body can experience micro-traumas to your muscles and joints, which release cytokines. With proper rest, your cytokines will help to rebuild the soft tissue in your muscles, which will improve your strength and fitness within your future workouts. That sounds like a plus, right?

The more you work out, the better your body will be able to handle inflammation and faster it will recover. If you over-exercise and constantly push your body past its breaking point, you’ll never be able to fully recover. This will result in excessive amounts of inflammation, causing an increase in belly fat and a higher risk for upper-respiratory tract infections.

The Importance of Recovering

Switch up your workout routine in order to make recovering easier. If you’re constantly over-exerting yourself, the most you’ll gain is a chance for injuries. Exercising in the morning also has less of an inflammatory impact on your body. In the morning, testosterone and cortisol are at their highest levels, which help you to recover much faster. Sleeping a full eight hours and eating properly, with foods that fight inflammation like tuna and salmon, can also help to speed up your inflammation process. Ice baths are great for this reason, too.

We hope that you’ll begin to notice whenever your muscles and joints are telling you that they need a break, and that you’ll listen to them.

This article was adapted from Fitness Magazine. Read the original article here.

If you have any questions about inflammation please contact Campbell Clinic to meet with a physician.


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