There are a lot of great tips that my coach has given me. One of the best is to take an Epsom salt bath the night after a really hard workout or a long run. Although I had heard of Epsom salts, I had never used them in a bath until this past year. There is nothing better than taking a nice long soak in a bath to relax and unwind, and it’s a bonus if you can get rid of muscle soreness and sleep better too!
Epsom salts are actually magnesium sulfate (not technically a salt), and they got their name because they were discovered in Epsom, England. Magnesium plays an important role in various physiological processes. I came across an interesting fact when researching this article: about 68% of all Americans are deficient in magnesium!
One of the best benefits for runners is that magnesium helps to soothe sore muscles. Without getting too technical, calcium is the mineral that helps muscles contract or “bind,” whereas magnesium helps muscles relax or “unbind.” Soaking for about 15 minutes in an Epsom salt bath works wonders when you are sore after a tough workout.
Magnesium sulfate can also help alleviate stress. Magnesium helps to stimulate the production of serotonin, which can improve your mood and help you feel more relaxed. This, in turn, can help you sleep more soundly.
There are a number of other benefits of magnesium including: prevention of blood clots and hardening of the arteries, constipation relief, enhancement of the effect of insulin in the body, and regulation of electrolytes in the body (helps with muscle functioning).
Drawing an Espom Salt Bath
- Run the water as hot as you can tolerate.
- Allow epsom salts to dissolve completely.
- Soak for at least 12-15 minutes. Aim for about 3 epsom salt baths per week for best results.
- Relax and enjoy!