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9 Surprising Things You Need to Know About Inflammation

You may have heard of inflammation in popular news media lately and wondered if it could impact your athlete. Or maybe your athlete has been feeling more sore than usual and you’re not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Inflammation sounds scary, but for athletes, it’s a natural part of the training and competition process. Here, TrueSport Expert Stephanie Miezin, MS, RD, CSSD, explains what inflammation really means for an athlete, why it’s not always a bad thing, and how to naturally lower levels of chronic inflammation.

Inflammation isn’t a bad thing

Inflammation is the natural and necessary process of the body trying to deal with an issue. It can come from many things: exercise, muscle damage or trauma, and the immune system removing pathogens in the body. We all think that inflammation is inherently bad, but it’s happening for a reason.

You may not want to decrease inflammation

Everyone wants to decrease inflammation, but there is a purpose for it. For things to heal and get better, inflammation needs to occur. For athletes, muscle damage occurs naturally through physical activity and the body’s repair process will generally include some sort of inflammatory process.

Your goals matter

If an athlete is training frequently and needs to recover quickly, decreasing some inflammation is useful. On the other hand, if somebody is prioritizing adaptation to exercise (lifting heavy at the gym, for example), that means letting that inflammatory process take its course, so it may be better to skip anti-inflammatory strategies.

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Athlete Health TrueSport