NEW YORK, Oct. 26 -- From gold medalists to weekend warriors, athletes at every level are insearch of new ways to reduce pain and enhance post-exercise recovery. Recent research shows that drinking tart cherry juice may help runners recover more quickly and effectively from post-race pain.
Studies reveal that powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give cherries their bright red color, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect muscles and joints even before an athlete hits the pavement, thereby reducing post-exercise pain.
Clay, who incorporates the Red Recovery Routine into his training program for the 2012 games, knows what works and what doesn't when it comes to pain relief and recovery.
"I have definitely seen a reduction in muscle soreness since I've added cherries to my training table," said Clay. "If I can incorporate something into my diet that's all-natural, tastes great and helps me recover more quickly, that's a winning proposition."
The Science of Cherries and Pain Relief
Recent research from Oregon Health & Science University(1) revealed runners who drank cherry juice twice a day for seven days prior to and on the day of a long-distance relay had significantly less muscle pain following the race than those who drank another fruit juice beverage. This is the latest in a growing body of science linking cherries to powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.
Bonci, also Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh, agrees tart cherries or juice are great to use before and after exercise.
"Most people only think about how to manage post-workout pain, not realizing that pain management and the ability to maximize muscle recovery starts before you even put on your shoes," said Bonci. "I recommend tart cherry juice to my athletes because it is a natural, anti-inflammatory option that provides additional nutrition value such as antioxidants and carbohydrates. Cherry juice is also extremely convenient to incorporate into a routine because it is available all year round and easy to take on the road."
Furthermore, cherries' anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to help relieve arthritis and joint pain, which Bonci says is extremely beneficial to active adults who are also trying to manage the aches and pains of aging. The average age of today's endurance athlete is 40-years-old (marathonguide.com).
Red Recovery Routine
To help athletes at every level enhance their training and recovery, Bonci and the Cherry Marketing Institute created the Red Recovery Routine. Visit www.choosecherries.com to download the Red Recovery Routine and learn more about the unique health benefits of cherries. The site also features other exceptional athletes who have discovered the pain-fighting power of tart cherries.
The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is an organization funded by North American tart cherry growers and processors. CMI's mission is to increase the demand for tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product development and research. For more information on the science supporting the unique health benefits of cherries and for cherry recipes and menu ideas, visit www.choosecherries.com.
(1) Kuehl KS, Chestnutt J, Elliot DL, Lilley C. Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain after strenuous exercise. American College of Sports Medicine. 851. May, 2009.
SOURCE The Cherry Marketing Institute
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