Muscle Care

By Sue Conley, Tuesday, 19th April 2016 | 0 comments

Even the slightest niggle can put you off your training. Sue Conley has some advice to keep you on track.......

I'll admit it: I don't always stretch properly before exercise. Don't be like me, and do stretch each and every time before, and after, you go about the business of training for the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon. But if you do have days when you sadly follow my example, then have I got some muscle-care solutions for you.

There's nothing like a good bath to deal with the soreness of muscles. I love a good dose of epsom salts, which are readily available at all good chemists and can cost as little as €2.65 for 300 grammes. Sometimes, though I want a little bit extra, like Burt's Bees Therapeutic Bath Crystals (€16), which are not only infused with eucalyptus oil, but rosemary and lemon oil too. Or I want to get an exfoliation as well as a soothing soak. In that case I grab Dermalogica's Hydro-Active Mineral Salts (€34.45): if you mix a dose of salts with a few pumps of the brand's Stress Relief Oil (€23.45) make a paste and rub it all over, and then get into the bath, you'll be relaxed and super shiny. “This product is the ultimate sea salt body therapy for all over skin polishing,” says Sally Penford, Education Manager of the International Dermal Institute. “These salts provides all the therapeutic benefits associated with the high mineral content of the Dead Sea in Israel.”

Hate baths? I've become an ardent admirer of Deep Heat's multi-purpose Muscle Massage Roll On Lotion. (€6.99RRP) According to physiotherapist Toby Garbett, since the lotion combines heat therapy and massage, “incorporating it into a warm-up before a training run or race day can help loosen and soften muscles so they move more easily.” It’s also useful for post-training muscle rehabilitation. “As well as stretching, massage the lotion onto your niggling spots,” he recommends. “This helps realign muscle fibres and break down adhesions and scar tissue so you can do it all again tomorrow.” I'm also a fan of Ragdale Hall Active Spa SOS Muscle Balm (€10.50) from M&S: the balm is dispensed through a massaging cap, allowing you to apply without getting your hands sticky while making sure that you give your muscles a good rub.

If your limbs need a quick pick-them-up at any time, I'd suggest The Body Shop's Peppermint Reviving Leg Gel (€10.95). It's got horse chestnut in it to help with getting the circulation going, and the blast of its main ingredient will feel exhilarating. Lastly, if you've a willing partner, a lovely full body massage with Lush's Wiccy Magic Muscles Massage Bar (€8.90): loaded with aduki beans and peppermint and cinnamon oil, it's sure to stimulate your circulation, and who knows what else...