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Cherry Juice and What You Can Do to Hasten Exercise Recovery

A study conducted by a team of researchers from London found that drinking cherry juice rich in polyphenols can boost recovery after exercise.


The body experiences a series of interconnected metabolic processes during exercise. You will begin to notice heavier and faster breathing, faster heart rate and your muscles will begin to heat up and feel sore. This is the body’s natural response to mild and extreme physical activities, and this can intensify to higher levels depending on the intensity of the physical activity. Exercise demands different systems in the body to respond according to the increased demand for energy. Body heat, breathing and blood circulation will be affected.

Different forms of exercise call for the action of specific muscle groups. Other more strenuous forms of exercise may require the use of multiple muscle groups. But in any case, exercise means muscle activity. The muscles will demand other systems in the body to respond and produce energy. Each system in the body will either work more, work less or focus on muscle activity. The heart, for example will start beating faster to speed up the circulation of blood and energy throughout the body while the stomach temporarily slows down in digesting food in order to channel more energy into the muscles.

Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is an essential biochemical fuel needed by the body to supply the muscles with energy. ATP needs to be burned in order for it to be transformed into usable energy. And this process will require oxygen, the elimination of metabolic wastes like lactic acid and carbon dioxide which are produced in the process, and the omission of heat out of the body.

After about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise, the body is tired and exhausted. And recovery is needed before doing the same routine all over again. The body will need at least 24 to 48 hours of recovery for muscle and tissue repair, especially when weight lifting. There are natural techniques to hasten and improve recovery after performing an exercise. A study conducted by a team of researchers from London found that the simple habit of drinking cherry juice can help the muscles recover faster.

Cherry Juice for Faster and Better Recovery

Researchers from London found that cherry juice can boost the muscle recovery after strenuous exercise. Previous studies had reported that the antioxidants in cherries can help the body overcome the oxidative damage caused by exercise. The study, conducted from the London South Bank University Sports and Exercise Science Research Center, focused and looked at the antioxidant property of cherry juice and its potential in hastening muscle recovery.

The study was published in the Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise. The researchers observed that people who were subjected to a week of drinking a certain branded cherry juice after a series of intensive exercise routines can help speed up recovery time and create better results compared to those who consumed control beverage. The cherry juice used in the study was from Montmerency beverage company. Lead researcher, Dr Joanna Bowtell, said that Montmorency cherry juice can improve the recovery of isometric muscles after exercise due to its strong antioxidant property.

A related study published in the Journal of Nutrition reported that the consumption of at least 45 cherries in a day can reduce the circulation of inflammatory markers in the body. This is due to the anthocyanin and flavonoid content of cherries, the researchers said. Reducing the amount of inflammatory compounds in the body can help reduce the muscle damage caused by exercise and lessen recovery time.

The researchers gathered a group of 10 competitive weight lifters to participate in the study and divided them in half. The first group was asked to drink cherry juice 7 days before and 2 weeks after a series of single leg knee extensions. The second group was subjected to the same process but with fruit concentrate in place of the cherry juice. At the end of the study, the researchers found that the recovery of the first group was faster than that of the control group but there was no noticeable difference between their energy production.

The industry of food nutrition in North America costs around $3.2 billion while Western Europe accounts for $713.6 billion of the industry. Researchers and sports scientists are continuously on the lookout for better ways of improving the performance of athletes by creating new exercise programs and products that promote better and faster recovery. But for individuals who simply want to improve their performance and enjoy a healthy life, there are several natural ways of hastening recovery time without spending too much.

Natural Ways to Speed Up Recovery after Exercise

The body needs time to recover. The length of time needed for the muscles to repair may vary depending on the intensity of the exercise. Resting between exercise days will not only let the body perform its natural recovery process but this will also help avoid injuries in the future. So make it a point to get enough sleep and sufficient nutrition after each exercise.

Stretching is not only needed before doing any form of physical activity, but stretching after each exercise can also help the muscles recover faster. Moving around or maintaining the same exercise but at a lower intensity for a few minutes will help remove lactic acid from the body. Lactic acid substances are produced in the combustion of ATP and may result to muscle stiffness.

Get enough nutrients from the food you eat and replace lost fluids. During exercise, the body makes use of available and stored energy. Refueling by eating the right kinds of food will help the body recover better and faster. Drinking a lot of fluids during and after exercise is also recommended to avoid dehydration, promote the flow of nutrients and support certain metabolic processes.

Taking an alternation of cold and hot baths a few hours after heavy exercise will help in alleviating muscle soreness and prevent injury. Contrast water therapy will help get rid of waste products faster by repeatedly dilating and constricting the blood vessels. Some athletes alternate 30 seconds of cold water with 2 minutes of hot water for four times with a short rest in between.

The key to faster recovery is using an exercise routine that allows time for recovery. Over-training without sufficient rest may only defeat the purpose of exercising.

Sources
nutraingredients.com
sportsmedicine.about.com
health.howstuffworks.com

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