If you’ve been tracking our friend and elite athlete, Gary Allen, as he took on the arduous journey of running from Maine to Washington D.C. — mission accomplished! Gary ran 705.2 miles in 15 days culminating in a victory climb up the steps of the U.S. Capitol building last night. Gary raised over $12,000 for charities with most of the donations benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. Although you may not take on that kind of extreme fitness challenge, the wear and tear of daily living, regular exercise, and deployments may lead you to reach for the aspirin or ibuprofen. While pain relief may be comforting, it may also lead to some dangerous habits.
The human body is an amazing machine. It has the ability to function in the most extreme circumstances. It also lets us know when we’ve overdone it, from a little twinge to a lightning bolt. Turning to pain relievers is common and sometimes recommended to help reduce inflammation caused by an injury or overuse and abuse of our bodies. More commonly, however, among athletes and active people is the pre-emptive use of pain relievers like ibuprofen before workouts and competition. The theory is that consuming ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will result in better performance and reduced recovery time. The reality is that they may be doing much more harm than good. Let’s first look at what NSAIDs are and what they do.
- What — aspirin, ibuprofen (like Advil & Motrin), and naproxen sodium (Aleve) are the most common.
- Why — used to moderate or eliminate pain and inflammation.
- How — NSAIDS block prostaglandins, substances that are responsible for regulating blood vessel dilation/constriction and muscle contraction/relaxation.
If you’ve ever had an injury, you know that it often results in pain and swelling. Those are your prostaglandins doing their job to rush relief to the affected area. The problem with NSAIDs is that they also block the other function of prostaglandins which is to protect the stomach lining. Taking NSAIDs on a regular basis may lead to stomach upset, even gastrointestinal issues like bleeding and leaky gut.
No Pain, Less Gain
Several surveys have concluded that 70–90% of long distance runners and endurance athletes take pain relievers prior to their workouts. However, instead of seeing better performance and recovery studies are showing the combination of exercise and NSAIDs to be a loser not a winner. Beyond potential damage to the gut, cutting off pain signals may also result in aggravated injuries. If you can’t feel the pain signals your body is sending you, you may not even know you have an injury. Pain is your body’s natural stop sign, like a big red flashing warning light telling you to slow down, take a break, or re-align your body to prevent further damage.
Nature vs NSAID
The bottom line in numerous studies is that the use of pain relievers does not improve performance, muscle repair or reduced recovery time. A better alternative is to look for natural solutions to support your muscles and joints pre and post workout. Here are some great alternatives:
- Boswellin — an herb used to help with joint and muscle swelling
- Borage Oil — a powerful anti-inflammatory
- Glucosamine — a natural compound proven effective in building cartilage
- Arthred® — a hydrolyzed collagen protein with the same series of amino acids required for cartilage generation.
- Tonalin® — conjugated linoleic acid to support muscle function
- MTCs — medium chain triglycerides which help increase energy and improve absorption of critical nutrients for muscle tissue repair and muscle performance.
- Supercharged Aminos — L-Carnitine, L-glutamine and OKG — optimize muscle function, reduce fatigue, enhance energy production, shorten recovery time and convert fat to energy more readily.
Our friend, Gary Allen, and many other endurance athletes and elite armed forces personnel provide inspirational proof of the amazing abilities of our bodies to perform in extreme situations. Throughout his journey, Gary fueled his body properly, rested regularly, and endured 700+ miles to victory. You can enjoy a victory every day by turning to a healthy, balanced diet of low inflammatory foods, plenty of fresh water, healthy protein, and the proper balanced supplements to enhance your performance naturally. Your body is talking, are you listening?
Running on Reliv: “Reliv should get all the credit for this. I am just the engine, Reliv is the fuel!!!” said Gary Allen on Day 10 of his 700 mile journey from Maine to D.C.. We fueled Gary with 24KTM, ProVantage® and Innergize® to keep him performing and recovering throughout his epic run. To order, go to www.reliv.com/buy enter RCN 53960101
Copyright © 2013 by Christine A.Toriello, all rights reserved.