Epsom Salt Baths
Soaking in a warm bath, perhaps with some candles and a good book, can be a great way to relax and unwind. Add in a mixture of epsom salt and you have your own at-home spa treatment. Epsom salt is relatively inexpensive, and you can find it at your local pharmacy or grocery store. It’s a naturally occurring compound of sulfate and magnesium.
Magnesium is an important mineral for runners that helps regulate blood pressure and strengthen bones. It can even help enhance athletic performance in some cases. According to an article by Yijia Zhang, “human studies indicated Mg [magnesium] supplementation may improve performance parameters in both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.” The article also states that your body needs more magnesium as your activity level increases.
Magnesium supplementation has also been shown to improve sleep, something all runners need plenty of. According to an article by Gerry K. Schwalfenberg, “Magnesium is a natural NMDA antagonist and a GABA agonist, both biochemical actions which have a relaxant effect and facilitate sleep.” If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep, a warm epsom salt bath before bed just might do the trick.
Some scientists are unsure about whether epsom salt baths truly raise your magnesium levels, but they can still be beneficial. According to Dr. David Rudnick, a chiropractic sports physician, soaking in warm water is a great way to treat soreness and pain.
“We know that soaking in hot water provides circulation, improves stiffness and reduces pain. When it comes to chronic overuse injuries, which are seen commonly in runners, there is typically very little, if any, inflammation in these tissues. I recommend epsom salt soaking for acute injuries and for the relaxing effect that hot water provides stiff and sore muscles,” Rudnick explains.