Why Magnesium Could Be A Game-Changer For Your Workouts
Posted by Rachael Gibson
When it comes to our overall health and wellbeing, magnesium is pretty important since it’s responsible for so many of our day-to-day bodily functions. “It helps us to produce energy, aid sleep, manage stress, build strong bones and even support physical performance and muscle function,” says fitness expert and founder of The Louisa Drake Method, Louisa Drake. If you’re into working out or playing sport, here’s why keeping an eye on your magnesium levels could really help…
Why Is Magnesium So Important When It Comes To Exercise?
“Magnesium plays an important role in muscle contraction and is also associated with strength,” says Louisa. “If you train regularly, your magnesium requirements increase. This is because the body uses magnesium to sustain muscle movement and deliver oxygen to the working muscles. It also plays a part in recovery since it impacts protein synthesis and your ability to bring down inflammation which can be a result of intense training.”
Magnesium Can Help Boost Energy Levels
If there’s one thing you need for a good workout or to play your best in sport, it’s energy. You may find you’re reaching for a coffee or pre-workout, but did you know magnesium could actually be the answer? “Most of our body’s energy comes from a molecule called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) which captures energy from the food we eat and uses it to fuel other processes in the body,” explains Louisa. “ATP production depends on magnesium and is one of the most essential electrolytes which is needed for efficient hydration.” Electrolytes are often depleted through sweat too which is another reason you should be mindful of keeping yours topped up.
Magnesium Can Help To Reduce Post-Workout Aches And Pains
It’s common to feel a little achy after movement but muscle pain, tightness and even cramping could be another sign your magnesium levels aren’t what they should be. “Without enough magnesium your muscles can’t relax properly which can cause cramping and twitching,” warns Louisa who says this is down to low magnesium levels creating a build up of lactic acid which can be the reason behind post-workout pains. Alongside magnesium, calcium levels are also worth monitoring as if these are too high, you could also experience some muscle soreness. “For this reason, magnesium is commonly recommended to treat muscle cramps as it regulates contractions and acts as a natural calcium blocker to help muscles relax,” Louisa explains.
Magnesium Can Help With Both Sleep & Stress
“Increasing your magnesium levels has been repeatedly shown to improve your sleep quality and improve your body’s ability to handle stress,” says Lee Mullins, founder of Workshop Gymnasium. If you’re sleeping better and your body is better equipped to fight signs of stress, your physical performance will most definitely benefit. You can read more about this here.
What Happens If I Am Deficient In Magnesium?
“When you are depleted of vitamins and minerals, important metabolic functions and energy production simply does not occur,” adds Louisa. “We therefore have to adjust these for optimum performance of the body. Another bonus from using magnesium is that it can help with belly fat and generally achieving a leaner body composition.”
How Is Best To Top Up My Magnesium Intake?
Eating a varied and well-balanced diet is your first port of call. “Good sources of magnesium can be found in leafy greens and nuts as well as avocado, brown rice, beans, flax and pumpkin seeds, raw cacao, seaweed and fish,” says Louisa who also loves to increase her magnesium levels transdermally. Taking a bath or using skincare products with magnesium can really help soothe sore and tired muscles post-workout as well as giving your magnesium levels a boost. “I love to apply NEOM’s Magnesium Body Butters directly onto my skin as the magnesium enters my body quickly, bypassing the digestive system where many nutrients are poorly absorbed,” she says.
Lee also suggests that taking a magnesium supplement can also help. “When it comes to what kind of magnesium you should be looking for, experts are specific. While magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed, gentle on the stomach and directly aids the liver and muscle tissue, magnesium threonate aids sleep and relaxation,” he explains. Lee’s best advice on when to take it? “Taking it in the evening can help calm the nervous system and set you up for a better night’s sleep”.