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Magnesium: The Mineral that Could Aid in Your Workout Recovery

  • 2 min read

Photo by Samuel Girven on Unsplash

Why is Magnesium Important?

Have you ever stopped working out because you were too sore? A recent study found that magnesium supplementation significantly reduced muscle soreness post-workout, yet many Americans don’t consume enough magnesium. 

How does magnesium work? 

Magnesium aids in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body including DNA and protein production, bone health, and blood sugar and blood pressure control. Magnesium also plays important roles in exercise: allowing your muscles to contract, relax, and stay flexible, keeping lactic acid build up at bay, and it’s a key component in energy production. 

Magnesium & Workout Recovery

In the previously mentioned study, college-aged males and females were given a 350mg magnesium supplement over the course of 10 days. This double-blind study wanted to examine the effects magnesium supplementation has on post-workout soreness and performance. The participants completed bench press sessions followed by performance sessions to failure. Two days later, the participants were asked to rate their soreness from 0 - no soreness to 6 - intolerable soreness.

The results of the study found that participants consuming the magnesium supplement felt less sore up to 48 hours after working out. And not only did they feel less sore, but perceived exertion was significantly lower than those not receiving magnesium.

Participants consuming magnesium also felt they recovered quicker after the workout. More studies are needed to examine magnesium’s role in exercise and performance, but these results are exciting for fitness enthusiasts wanting to feel less sore and recover quicker after a hard workout. 

Based on the results of this study, consuming enough magnesium may need to be more of a priority to aid in faster recovery, especially for those who already don’t get enough. A well-balanced diet containing magnesium-rich foods will help you reach your recommended magnesium intake and also aid in recovery.

Consuming a nutrient-rich diet means your body and muscles receive all the vitamins and minerals they need to function and recover properly. If you think you might be deficient or are worried that you are not getting enough magnesium or another nutrient, talk to your doctor about it, and then get back to crushing your workouts!

How much do you need in a day?  

The recommended daily intake for adult women is 310-320 mg of magnesium/day and for adult men it is 400-420 mg of magnesium/day.

Magnesium-containing foods include:

  • Legumes and beans such as lentils, black beans, soybeans, and edamame 
  • Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews
  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens
  • Whole grains including wheat, oats, quinoa, and barley 
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Milk and yogurt 

The takeaway

Magnesium is involved in so many bodily processes so it's important you are consuming enough. If you constantly participate in strenuous exercise, meeting your magnesium needs may be even more essential for less soreness and faster recovery. Eating a balanced diet is a great first step in meeting your magnesium needs and hopefully improving your performance in the gym.