What you need in your medicine cabinet to nourish your body
Hiking, running, swimming and kayaking, while fabulous for your health, invariably come with sore muscles and dirt-caked elbows. We asked an expert at Outside magazine to help us corral products that will speed muscle recovery and soothe what ails you.
1. Coarse Bar Soap
A lemon-scented body wash may smell nice, but it won't do a thing to scrub away mud, chlorine or dead skin cells. What you really need is a soap containing a gritty element like peppercorns or oat kernels, says Outside magazine associate editor Ryan Krogh. Lathering up will leave your skin soft, supple and clean.
2. Epsom Salts
Pour two cups of this magnesium-sulfate powerhouse under warm running water in a tub and soak away tension and sore muscles. Some athletes swear an Epsom bath speeds muscle recovery time since it flushes away lactic acid, said to cause pain during extreme exercise.
3. Electric Foot Spa
If you don't have time to run an Epsom bath but want quick relief for your tired tootsies, treat them to a warm soak in a stand-alone foot bath. Some of these bath accessories boast massaging bubbles for extra pampering.
If your skin is repeatedly subjected to sun, wind, salt water or extreme temperatures, slathering your body with moisturizer after exercise is a must. Look for a product that hydrates as well as exfoliates, like Eucerin or GNC Vitamins E, A & D Moisturizing Cream. And don't neglect your face. “A lot of people work out in the morning, take a shower, scrub their face and run to work. But if they don't moisturize, that's a recipe for dry skin," Krogh says. Choose a product that not only counters dryness but also contains SPF 15 or more.
5. Shea Butter Foot Cream
Take a cue from professional runners and grease your tired, achy feet with a thick shea butter cream. The essential fatty acids and antioxidant compounds it contains relieve cracked skin. For extra relief, apply the cream, then slip your feet into plastic bags to let the moisturizer soak in.
6. Shampoos and Conditioners for Color-Treated Hair
Even pro athletes who don’t dye their locks use these moisture-rich products to rehydrate hair that’s regularly fried by the sun and other elements.
7. Back Scrubber
Keep pores from clogging and reach places a washcloth can’t hope to cover. Besides the classic long-handled model with a soft brush or sponge, some scrubbers are 100 percent terry cloth, with grips on either end. Others feature bristles on one side and massaging nubs on the other.