The summer heat and working from home has many people interested in enjoying outdoor activities, all the while maintaining social distancing, of course. Basements have transformed into personal gyms and vehicles have been replaced with bicycles and running shoes. Many people are choosing to become more active while staying at home. Taking care of your health and getting back in shape is a great idea but if working out hasn’t really been your thing you may have been complaining of new aches and pains.

Exercise and activities such as cycling are beneficial for overall health but they can be a stressor on the body if not done with proper form and technique. It’s very common for individuals who start a new exercise regimen to overdo it. Stretching, contracting and bending while exercising naturally induce a release of various inflammatory chemicals in the body causing an acute inflammatory response. Although this chemical release is normal and in part helps contribute to building muscle tone and strength, excessive inflammation can become an obstacle to maintaining a healthy active lifestyle.  

Overall, exercise helps reduce chronic inflammation but excessive exercise without adequate recovery time can result in increased inflammation and injury. Isolating daily workouts to specific zones of the body such as legs one day and arms another can reduce injury and allow time for healing between workouts. Keeping inflammation between workouts to a minimum helps reduce fatigue, joint and muscle soreness, and in the long term improves performance.

Utilizing nutrients that promote recovery, reduce inflammation and support musculoskeletal health are additional tools to keep your body moving. Shark cartilage is a natural source of chondroitin and glucosamine. These two compounds contribute to healthy cartilage and reduce damage to joints such as the knees, low back and shoulders. Weight lifting and long distance running can cause cartilage loss overtime. Glucosamine supplements have scientifically shown to reduce inflammation and keep joint structures healthy, minimizing cartilage loss and pain.

Spices such as ginger and turmeric (curcumin) have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to reduce inflammation within the body by blocking chemical pathways that promote inflammation. One study reported consuming ginger before exercise may potentially reduce naturally occurring quadriceps muscle pain during moderate intensity cycling[i]. This effect is thought to be due to the anti-inflammatory effect of gingerol and shogaol compounds. A systematic review of turmeric consisting of eleven papers reported the various curcumin compounds in turmeric resulted in reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, decreased pain and muscle damage, and superior recovery and muscle performance[ii]. Curcumin has shown to reduce inflammation by inhibiting various chemicals such as phospholipase, lipooxygenase and cyclooxygenase 2,[iii] all of which can decrease muscle recovery.

So, after you have completed another set of weights or that long distance jog you may want to consider using supplements for post-activity recovery and repair so you can keep active, even after things get back to pre COVID-19 times.

[i] Mashhadi NS., Ghiasvand R., Askari G., Hariri M., Darvishi L., Mofid MR. (April 2013). Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity:Review of current evidence. International journal of preventative medicine;4:S32-S42.

[ii] Suhett LG., Santos RMM., Silveira BK., Leal AC., D AD., Novaes JF., Lucia CM. (April 2020). Effects of cucumin supplementation on sport and physical exercise: a systematic review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. Retrieved from:

[iii] Wu AC. (Feb 2003). Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa). Journal of alternative and complementary medicine; 9(1): 161-8.

About the Author