Red Light Therapy for Training, Fitness, and Optimal Performance
Red Light Therapy is one kind of treatment that is recently revolutionizing the medical industry. Despite being new, it is being adopted by a fine number of people, and even celebrities, in order to treat certain issues related to skin, muscle tissues, and even mental health. In the previous articles, we have discussed a number of points about Red Light Therapy and how beneficial it is when it comes to our mental health. In this article, we will shift our focus to the muscles and discuss how Red Light Therapy proves to be beneficial when it comes to training and achieving peak performance.
With that being said, let’s start with the first point:
- How Does Red Light Really Work ( A Quick Recap):
Before getting to the benefits of RLT when it comes to training, performance, and fitness, it’s better to have a quick recap and see how Red Light Therapy works.
The thing about Red Light is that it can penetrate the skin and body tissue in order to stimulate cells’ metabolism. Red Light Therapy aims for the mitochondria that is found inside the cell, and it helps it complete the respiration cycle in a more effective manner. The mitochondria is known as the powerhouse of the cell, and when well stimulated, faster regeneration occurs since energy is being produced more effectively.
Not only that, but when combining infrared light, with a wavelength of 880 nanometers (nm), with 600 nanometers red light, we can notice that light reaches deeper spots under the skin, which in turn helps even more in increasing cellular regeneration and oxygenation.
Still, how can Red Light Therapy affect our muscles so that we can reach optimal performance?
- Increase in Energy and Testosterone Levels:
Does Red Light Therapy increase testosterone levels and give you energy?
One of the great things about Red Light Therapy is that it can increase testosterone production in the human body. Natural sunlight stimulates testosterone production, and Red Light is the human-made alternative for natural sunlight which you can use at home, even on rainy days when sunlight is being blocked by clouds. When there’s an increase in testosterone production, this will result in an increase in energy. And when the human body feels energetic, our muscles perform even better.
- Improved Muscle Growth:
Is it good to use Red Light Therapy for muscle growth?
It has been claimed that Red Light Therapy increases muscle growth by 50%. Although this may sound somehow illogical or maybe over exaggerated, one particular study proved this claim to be true. This study divided a number of participants into two groups. One group received red light therapy before their training sessions while the other trained without it for around 8 weeks. When the period ended, examiners noticed that the group which had Red Light Therapy sessions before training witnessed greater muscle growth than those who trained without being exposed to the Red Light by about 50%. This means that Red Light Therapy allowed for better muscle growth, and most importantly, in the same amount of time since both groups trained for the same period. Thus, using Red Light Therapy for muscle growth is indeed a good idea.
- Effective Against Inflammation:
It has been advised by a number of people to actually incorporate Red Light Therapy into our daily workout, for it reduces the pain caused by inflammation. This piece of advice has not been given by any person, but by actual trainers such as the celebrity trainer Jorge Cruise.
Jorge Cruise said that some of his clients find themselves unable to perform their daily workout because of inflammation, and this is why he advised them to have Red Light Therapy since this latter helps in reducing the pain. RLT allows for a reduction in Creatine Kinase, which is an enzymatic substance that gets produced following skeletal tissue injury. This substance is used as a marker to assess muscle damage levels. Interestingly, individuals who had Red Light Therapy witnessed a decrease in Creatine Kinase levels in blood.
- Reduced Muscle Fatigue:
Can Red Light Therapy help with muscle fatigue?
Muscle fatigue is a natural phenomenon. It’s the reason why the 3rd rep feels way harder than the first one, and it has been claimed that Red light Therapy can contribute to the reduction of this kind of fatigue. Before getting to how RLT can help with muscle fatigue, you should keep in mind that it’s completely fine to feel muscle fatigue while exercising, even if your training partner does not feel it as fast as you. Muscle fatigue is related to two factors. The first one is energy drain, and we have already tackled how RLT can increase energy levels in a previous point. The second factor however needs some explanation.
The second reason behind muscle fatigue is metabolites build up. Metabolites can be considered as waste elements which result when muscles contract. In these metabolites, which cause that burning feeling in muscles while training, you can find certain substances such as lactic acid and potassium. Red Light Therapy limits lactic acid build up since it hinders the process of the enzyme responsible behind its production. This means less lactic acid, less metabolites, and thus less muscle fatigue. In fact, a number of studies showcased that when individuals underwent RLT before exercise, they witnessed a delay in the onset of muscle fatigue and a reduction in fatigue response.
- Injury Prevention:
Can we use Red Light Therapy to treat and prevent Injuries?
Injuries and the fear of them are probably the main reasons that may push any individual into quitting any sort of physical activity. Certain injuries may heal overtime, while others can be somehow devastating. Although the best way to prevent injuries is to warm-up properly and increase heart rate, which in turn allows muscles to receive more blood, using Red Light Therapy can help in reducing chances of getting injured while exercising. Through a process called vasodilation, Red Light warms up the exposed part and allows blood vessels to widen, which in turn allows blood to flow through the body.
A good warm-up may prevent injury, but Red light therapy can even be used as a healing tool at first signs of injury in order to prevent it from getting worse. Additionally, it has been claimed that Red Light therapy can even be used to limit pain and swelling. So, using Red Light Therapy for injuries is indeed one use that you should keep in mind.
- Faster Muscle Recovery:
One of the things that truly limits fitness progress is rest time duration. Recovery time affects your workout somehow negatively since the longer you take to recover, the fewer your workout sessions will be, and as a result, your progress will be slower. Interestingly, a number of studies showcased that Red Light Therapy decreased DOMS which is an abbreviation for delayed onset muscle soreness. Not only that but other research illustrated that RLT proved to be way more effective that cryotherapy and even cold water immersion therapy. So, using Red Light Therapy for recovery is indeed one good idea.
- Increased Endurance and Improved Performance:
Can Red Light Therapy increase endurance and performance?
In 2010, a particular research showcased that Red Light Therapy can improve athletes’ performance after recording an increase in the elapsed time before exhaustion of a number of individuals who underwent the treatment. Not only this, but a number of people who tried RLT witnessed that they covered more distance in certain cardiopulmonary exercises. This proves that RLT can significantly increase endurance and allow us to perform better. Furthermore, some research illustrates that RLT helps in increasing the amount of pulmonary ventilation and decreasing breath shortness while exercising.
All these research results allow us to deduce one major point: that Red Light Therapy can be an amazing addition for athletes who are seeking to increase their endurance and performance during a workout session, as well as for those who are seeking to get into competitions and tournaments and could make use of an extra boost.
From what we have just tackled, it seems fair to say that Red Light Therapy is indeed one amazing addition to every workout session. Red light Therapy not only helps us reach peak performance, and thus maximize our results, but it also proves to be beneficial in limiting recovery time and having bigger muscles. And who knows, maybe you’ll be able in the near future to have Red Light Therapy at the gym. RLT is the kind of treatment that is truly worth a shot, but before undergoing any type of treatment, it’s always preferable to consult your doctor.