By Ed Griffin
We all can pick up some dings and bumps as we try to get fit or just go about daily life activities. In the words of one of my favorite rock bands, Dawes, “Things happen, that’s all they ever do”.
Last week I discussed the benefits of using ice and this week, I will explore utilizing heat to help speed up recovery or to just smooth out some of those dings and bumps.
The application of heat to the body also has therapeutic benefits. Heat causes the blood vessels to dilate, which increase the blood flow to the area. Increased blood flow will bring oxygen and nutrients to the injured area, as well as help flush out any metabolic waste that was created as a result of the injury. In contrast to ice, heat application will increase cell metabolism, which promotes healing. Heat increases the extensibility of muscle and connective tissue, causing them to be more receptive to exercise and stretching, therefore helping to increase flexibility and range of motion.
Heat can be used to increase blood flow to areas of chronic pain, tightness, and muscle spasm. Heat should not be used in the first 24 hours after an injury as it will cause an increase in swelling & inflammation.
If you’re uncertain, ask a qualified healthcare professional when you should switch to using heat.
Ed Griffin and his wife Ellen own Fleet Feet Syracuse, which they founded in May of 2000. Fleet Feet Syracuse has received National Recognition as a Top 50 Running Store in America 12 years in a row and was named Best Running Store in America in 2012. Ed enjoys helping the team at Fleet Feet and our customers achieve their fitness and professional goals. In his spare time, Ed speaks to companies and organizations on a variety of topics, walks his dogs, enjoys good music and is the family chef. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.