Much of my adult life has been enjoyed through my dedication to being an endurance athlete, having participated in several marathons and triathalons. It’s something that I gain great pleasure from – allowing my mind to focus on how the grueling act of running interacts with my mind and body. It’s a euphoric feeling that’s difficult to replicate. There’s no other way to put it and that’s why it keeps bringing me back.
Athletes and Exercises
Through practice, dedication and love for the sport, I’ve come to appreciate much more how full-time athletes put up with their craft. It’s no easy feat on the body or the mind. Needless to say, there are “side effects” of participating in such grueling and physically demanding exercises. Above all else, inflammation is something that I have to deal with on a consistent basis when gearing up for (or relaxing after) a run.
Dealing with aches and pains is a common trouble we all deal with at some point, but the reaction and solution to the problem varies from person to person. Unfortunately, the most common solution to this dilemma usually finds itself easily accessible in the medicine cabinet.
As a nation, we’ve become so accustomed to ingesting some substance to provide relief in any area of our lives. For a while, I was included in that list. Ibuprofen or some sort of NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drug) usually tops the list for what we reach for in times of mild pain relief. While small doses don’t generally arouse much concern, heavy usage among athletes who require more frequent relief may prove to be more troubling.
For Athletes, Risks From Ibuprofen Use
A New York Times article written by Gretchen Reynolds, explains how ibuprofen use over longer periods of time can disrupt intestinal integrity and also increase recovery and rebuilding time. In the article it’s explained that, “In a recent study, researchers found that runners at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run who were regular ibuprofen users actually had small amounts of colonic bacteria in their bloodstream.” That’s certainly not a component I would like coursing through my bloodstream and, more importantly, it became apparent to me why the gains I saw when training too hard began to shrink with my increased use of ibuprofen. It was like that rebound effect we’re so used to hearing, but then brushing aside.
What’s important to note is that, taking a medicine isn’t your only option for dealing with aches and pains. Countless natural remedies and healthy alternatives exist. Earthing is one of those.
Inflammation is both a response and a result of your body’s interaction with stress, infection, and illness. When our muscles are stressed or your body encounters a foreign substance, it reacts with inflammation. In small doses, this reaction is natural and beneficial, as it fights off ailments and foreign substances. On the other hand, too much may result in immune system disruption.
Inflammation has many known causes, including overexposure to toxins, stress, UV radiation, etc. The over-use or over-working of some body part, as I’ve experienced, can be another known cause. The lower extremities, including feet and knees for example, are highly susceptible to increased inflammation when heavy running is a part of one’s regimen.
Best Solution When Dealing With Inflammation?
The easiest solution I’ve found is to simply listen to my body. My training regimen is most successful (and least painful) when I don’t force anything. Tuning in to my body and letting go of my ego makes it a LOT easier to know when it’s ok to push a bit harder and when to ease back.
Another excellent option for dealing with inflammation is through the contemporary wellness trend known as Earthing. Recent studies suggest that the simple connection between your body and the earth’s surface (i.e. going barefoot) can have a significant, positive impact on your health. This is especially true when dealing with inflammation.
Part of the problem is that too much inflammation (especially when coupled with toxins, stress and injury) leads to the build up of unhealthy free radicals in the body. When these free radicals continue to grow uninterrupted, they damage healthy cells and lead to further oxidative stress. When in direct contact with the earth’s surface, the body is able to absorb electrons from the earth’s surface. In turn, these electrons act as antioxidants in the body, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals that, again, are a root cause of the inflammation mentioned above!
If Ibuprofen is something you use sparingly, it shouldn’t be of much concern. However, it’s always suggested to speak with a medical professional regarding the medications you’re consuming, especially when he/she may be able to weigh the pros/cons given your medical history and lifestyle.
Regardless of your previous and current use of Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs, I would strongly suggest considering other, natural solutions to supplement a healthy regimen. Earthing is just one of the many alternative solutions that have worked for me. To explore more about the concept of Earthing and how it can help, download this free Earthing eBook.