HOUR TO BRUSH AWAY MUSCLE SORENESS WITH A CULTURE FIX
LEGS DAY, WAS IT? If you can feel your lower body seizing up, don’t just sit there. According to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, soaking up some culture in your lunch hour is your ticket to soothing DOMS. The scientists linked a “sense of awe” to reduced markers of leg pain-inducing inflammation. If that sounds a little woolly, don’t worry – the science really does stack up.
By “awe”, we mean the positive emotions we experience while engaging with works of art or theatre. The emotional effects of a lunchtime spent looking at paintings, for example, were found to be powerful enough to lower levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines – particularly interleukin-6, which signals the immune system to work harder. DOMS occurs when your body triggers an inflammatory response to muscle damage following a tough workout. A trip to your local gallery, however, curbs this effect, in much the same way as an ibuprofen tablet.
For those with little desire to contemplate a dusty Renaissance portrait, the good news is that the sense of awe extends far beyond the National Gallery. Any sight or sound that truly inspires you will suffice. Pick a favourite lunch spot in your local park and cue up a song that never fails to give you the chills (an awe-inspiring sandwich wouldn’t go amiss, either). It’ll take the sting out of tomorrow’s cycle commute.
TREAT YOUR LEGS TO A RENAISSANCE AT LUNCH.