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The Healing Power of Arnica

Arnica flower pain relief

Athletes are no stranger to pain. Competitive athletes of all backgrounds experience aches and pains from sprained or strained muscles to sports-related injuries such as tendinitis, shin splints, and joint inflammation.

Treatment for sports-related injuries can range from targeted stretches to the use of muscle rollers, to even shots of cortisone that treat inflammation. While some athletes may go with the expensive option of sports therapy for a prescribed treatment, many others are aware of the opportunity to self-treat injuries and pain with the use of Arnica.

 What Is Arnica?

 Arnica Montana is a perennial flowering plant that originated from Europe and Siberia but is now found throughout North America. A popular homeopathic herb, Arnica has been used for its healing properties for thousands of years. You’ll find this ingredient in natural remedies designed to relieve sore, strained or swollen muscles. Listed with different names, you might find it as mountain arnica, mountain tobacco, wolf’s bane, or leopard’s bane.

 Healing Capabilities of Arnica

 Arnica has much to offer as a natural pain reliever, which is why it’s common to see it prescribed to athletes in a topical form that can be directly applied to painful, bruised, or inflamed muscles. Arnica is applied to the skin, where it’s absorbed and quickly goes to work. As a powerful anti-inflammatory, it improves blood circulation and provides natural pain relief. Arnica is one of the best ingredients for both relieving pain as well as providing therapeutic healing at the source of the injury.

 Is Arnica Alone Enough to Relieve Pain?

 Arnica is powerful pain-relieving anti-inflammatory on its own, but the effectiveness is maximized when it’s also combined with other pain-relieving ingredients. A topical pain relief gel such as Neptune Ice contains additional active ingredients of Lidocaine, Menthol, Camphor, MSM, Boswellia, Dimethicone and Organic Aloe that work together with Arnica to stop pain and inflammation, giving your muscles and joints the relief they need.

 As an athlete, you’re constantly pushing the limits of your ability and personal achievements, however that often comes with the pain of muscle strains and injuries. Natural pain relief options like arnica flower that target pain while promoting healing can play an important role in your athletic goals and recovery.

Setting SMART Goals

SMART goal setting for the athlete

For athletes, there’s a fine line between a mediocre performance and one that pushes you past boundaries and toward success. Goals are what make the difference between the athlete that settles for the middle of the pack and one that achieves their peak performance. As athletes, goals keep us focused and provide us the added edge to push us through the mental and physical challenges of high endurance sports.

Benefits of Goal Setting

 Goals provide the focus, determination, and motivation to keep us pushing forward.  Setting goals that challenge your physical performance and mental capabilities are key for growing stronger as an athlete.  

If an athlete doesn’t believe they can beat their best performance time, they will never try, or even find out what they are capable of. And that’s where setting goals comes in.

 SMART Goal Setting for Athletes

 A great way to determine and define your goals starts with the SMART approach. SMART is an acronym used to outline the steps of goal setting and achievement. For the endurance athlete who’s not willing to accept failure as an option, the SMART strategy looks like this.

 

  • Specific: Goals should be detailed and specific. Rather than strength training 3 times a week, a SMART goal would include the type of strength training exercises and numbers of reps.
  • Measurable: In order to set a goal, you should be able to measure your efforts. Goals should be quantifiable and allow you to see progress.
  • Attainable: While we often want to shoot for the sky, make sure to choose a goal that is attainable.
  • Realistic: Keep your physical and time limitations in mind to make sure the goal is realistic.
  • Time-Based: Set a structured time frame for your goals to keep you on track.

 

Measuring Your Success

 Using the above structure will not only allow you to set realistic goals, but they will be time-bound, and measurable, allowing you to consistently build upon your success. Did you miss your mark or come in under your target time? That’s OK since you now have a goal in mind that you can go back to (or revise) that helps you move forward. What is better than working toward something bigger than yourself to improve your performance? Checking off goals as they are attained, no matter the time required, will only build your confidence and physical achievements.

 Discover Your True Potential

As an athlete, you are capable of much more than you think you are. Using goals, such as with the SMART approach can be a valuable tool to drive and increase your performance. Building confidence and achieving athletic success begins by setting goals, and only then will you be able to move past your current barriers in order to live your best, healthiest life.   

 

The Importance of Recovery

Importance of Recovery

Most athletes understand that recovery is important, especially those who participate in endurance sports. Competitive athletes often find it difficult to stop long enough to give their body the rest and recovery it really needs. However, the experienced athlete knows that recovery is one of the most important elements for strengthening their physical performance.

Why Recovery Is Important

Recovery is important because it gives your body the time it needs to strengthen and repair itself, which enhances performance further down the road. Instead of feeling guilty for taking a day or two off, treating recovery as a component of your endurance fitness program is the key you need to help optimize results.

 While exercise is great, it is also stressful on the body. Stress from physical activity can damage tissue and drain the energy stored in muscle. During exercise, muscle tissue breaks down, fluid is lost, and the result is a depletion of muscular glycogen. Without recovery time between bursts of physical activity, muscles aren’t given the opportunity to repair. This leads to further breakdown and damage – which can ultimately lead to injury.

 4 Ways to Help Your Body Recover

 Hydrate: The body loses fluids when you engage in strenuous physical activity. Water is essential for all human physiological functions, so make sure you’re replenishing your body with ample amounts of fluids after physical exercise. Avoid drinks that may increase dehydration; such as coffee, caffeinated sodas, or alcohol.

 Nutrition: Food is fuel for the body. The right fuel can enhance the recovery process. Don’t skimp on calories and include the proper balance of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates.

 Stretch: An ounce of prevention goes a long way for post-workout recovery. Minimize the risk of injury and prepare your body for the strenuous movement ahead by stretching and warming up muscles before and after each workout.

 Treat Your Muscles Right: Stressed muscles can be painful, which can cause you to move differently and risk injury. When your muscles are sore, try a topical gel that relieves pain and reduces inflammation.