There’s just one problem with leading an active lifestyle: you must be, well, active. And that activity can lead to muscle and joint stress, fatigue and injury. Oh yeah, and the pain that can accompany all of them.
Fortunately, with treatments like massage therapy, physiotherapy and acupuncture, you have lots of non-drug ways to relieve the pain. But what most people who take advantage of those treatments don’t always consider is that they are also great ways to help improve your performance during physical activity, and help prevent strains and injuries from happening in the first place.
Acupuncture particularly is usually thought of as a pain treatment that offers an alternative to medication and even surgery. While everyone who takes advantage of acupuncture knows that it does much more than relieve pain, not many think of it as a way to get better results from their workouts and other activities.
Whether you’re on a regular schedule at the gym, you play recreational sports, or you simply make it a point to get the 2 ½ hours of moderate physical activity Health Canada says you should get every week, acupuncture can help improve your performance.
1. Increase Blood Flow
Your blood carries nutrients and oxygen to every part of your body. It also helps to flush away impurities and waste products. In other words, it helps keep everything, including your muscles and joints healthy and functional. Imagine what would happen if you could increase blood flow for work outs.
Acupuncture stimulates the production of nitric oxide in your body. In turn, nitric oxide helps your blood vessels to relax and opens your arteries. Not only will you have more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your muscles and joints, you’ll enjoy better overall circulation.
2. Promote Homeostasis
The overriding goal of acupuncture is to return the balance to your body’s energy, nervous system and circulation. That constant balance helps all your body’s system function properly, including with each other. The resulting boost in muscle function, biomechanics and balance helps you improve even your best workouts.
3. Prevent Injury
You can’t perform if you’re not in the game. In addition to the increased blood flow, and the optimal balance for your energy and body’s systems, acupuncture helps reduce muscle fatigue. Together these results mean you have less chance of suffering an injury that might completely ruin your workout, and many more.
4. Improve Relaxation, Rest an Recovery
When you stress your muscles during a workout, they can tighten, leaving you felling stiff and sore. The endorphin boost produced by acupuncture helps your muscles relax. Not only does this improve performance, it also improves the recovery time between your workouts as your muscles get the rest they need versus being constantly tense. And acupuncture helps you sleep which is important for your mind, body and especially their healing mechanisms. In addition to pain relief, acupuncture promotes your body’s natural healing and inflammation-reducing powers.
Better relaxation, more rest and faster recovery all mean you’re ready to go harder in your next workout.
5. Psychological Benefits
The best workouts come from a mind/body balance. If you’re mentally fatigued, depressed or anxious, it can dull your workout focus and energy and affect your performance and results. In addition to helping balance all your physical systems, acupuncture can do the same for mental systems too. The release of endorphins helps promote a more positive outlook, and the balance in energy helps to relieve stress.
There really is only one way to find out how acupuncture can improve your workout. Give it a try. Call or email us here at Active Health Center if you’d like to learn more, and find out how you can get your first acupuncture treatment.