So imagine yourself running on a beach running over the sand under a sunny sky. Now picture yourself at the gym under boring blue light. Which of those two scenarios sound better to you? Of course the sunny beach right? Well, that is where red light therapy comes into play during your intensive workout at home or the gym.
In this article I would like to correlate the benefits of using red light therapy during exercise. Moreover, the need for red light therapy before or after working out but more so during physical activity. Finally, should you do red light therapy before or after working out?
The downsides of exercising
The first big problem with exercising is the effects on the muscles. Everyone knows that after a workout they are sore, that is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS for short. DOMS are muscle pains that begin after you’ve worked out. It normally starts a day or two after a workout. You won’t feel DOMS during a workout. See our blog on what injuries have been helped by RLT.
DOMS can leave your muscles sore, tired and short-term muscle strength loss for some time. DOMS can cause tiny, microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. Your body responds to this damage by increasing inflammation, which may lead to a delayed onset of soreness in the muscles.
The next real problem for many is post exercise fatigue or PEF. This is a real problem and those who are completely drained after a workout understand this issue. PEF can happen right after physical activity and symptoms are headaches, general lethargy, and even dizziness.
There’s also a relationship between post exercise fatigue and higher creatine kinase (CK) levels as well. CK is a marker of muscle damage, and is often elevated in those that take part in extremely tough workouts for months and months
The last real problem from intense exercising is sleep. Sleep is so important and if you are feeling “charged” up in the evenings after a workout your sleep is taking a hit. Getting a good nights rest after a workout will help your body repair. But for some the release of adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine will keep them from getting a good nights rest.
How red light therapy can help
Red light therapy and exercise have been shown to benefit one another in a few key ways. As you just read the effects of post workout issues, red light therapy can help. After reading this article you will understand how using a Solas device will help you reduce DOMS, PEF and restless nights.
Right now, we know from peer-reviewed studies that red light can actually reduce sore muscles or DOMS. The science behind this process is something called the mitochondria (cellular energy producers). The muscles are packed with mitochondria and for good reason as your body needs them to do the work your body demands.
Since it is becoming agreed that mitochondria are the principal photoacceptors present inside cells, this suggests that red light therapy should be highly beneficial in muscle injuries during exercise. This means that the light emitted from Solas devices give your mitochondria something called Cytochrome C Oxidase which the mitochondria turn into ATP (Adenosine TRI Phosphate) which is then burned for energy by your cells. (1)The faster your muscle’s mitochondria can do that, there will be a reduced amount of lactic acid to build up in the muscle. If the mitochondria are more enhanced with red light therapy those results are possible. (2)
With these perspectives in mind, this case-control study investigated whether an intense strength training program combined with the chronic use of red light therapy could increase muscle recovery, performance (strength and fatigue resistance), and muscle hypertrophy (volume); modulate gene expression; and also decrease the score for DOMS in a pair of identical twins (3)
Red light therapy is a critical component to giving your cells the energy to keep fatigue post work out at bay. We talked about the mitochondria earlier in this post, but I want to elaborate how it affects the mitochondria positively.
The primary site of light absorption in human cells has been identified as the mitochondria and, more specifically, cytochrome c oxidase (CCO). It is hypothesized that inhibitory nitric oxide can be dissociated from CCO, thus restoring electron transport and increasing mitochondrial membrane potential.(4)
Restoring the electron transport chain means cellular energy production will continue at its maximum output. Which is how we decrease fatigue and keep the body from producing too much lactic acid (muscle burn) and burn our energy from glucose and fats more effectively.
Now that we have lowered our muscle soreness and fatigue we should make sure we get an amazing nights rest. Using a Solas red light device will assist in your bodies ability to boost melatonin production. We know that melatonin is a powerful sleep hormone so boosting your production will result in a better nights rest.
There was a promising study (5) showing that the group with 30 minutes of red light therapy had more restful nights sleep versus the control group. Moreover, this study (6) shows clinical results that sleep participants showed marked results in getting to sleep faster and staying asleep longer. So red light therapy can be a remarkable treatment modality to add to your life.
Should you do red light therapy before or after working out?
Now that you know the benefits of red light therapy and exercise, but there is still one question. Should you do red light therapy before or after working out? Are there any benefits to adding Solas red light therapy during specific times of red light therapy during fitness sessions?
We feel the answer is during or right after your workout out. Because using a Solas device can profoundly change the way your cells make energy, it is important to boost your mitochondria in your cells during the workout or closely after finishing your workout. This will ensure your mitochondria are resilient enough to keep your cells thriving after a tough workout, so you will not get too much fatigue.
By utilizing red light fitness after training you can also reduce the amount of DOMS by limiting lactic acid build up and increasing your blood flow to those tired muscles. In addition, using right during a workout can really assist in keeping your muscles actively repairing by lowering inflammation which many studies concluded. Just after your tiresome workout it may be beneficial to extend your session in front of a Solas device to really give your sleep cycle a boost by triggering your circadian rhythm, so you can sleep better after physical activity too.
Another question we get all the time is, can I do red light therapy every day? Of course, you can however there is always an upper tolerance of what your body will take in from the light and there can be a rate of little return if done to frequently or for too long. If you are ready to take your body to the next level and let get your cells to recharge and thrive, check out all the fantastic Solas devices to do just that. Or check out our blog post on everything FAQ you may have.
1.Ferraresi, C., Hamblin, M. and Parizotto, N., 2021. Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) on muscle tissue: performance, fatigue and repair benefited by the power of light.
- Ferraresi, C. (2015). Low-level laser (light) therapy increases mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP synthesis in C2C12 myotubes with a peak response at 3–6 h. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25443662/
3.Hamblin. (2017). Low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) on muscle tissue: performance, fatigue and repair benefited by the power of light. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3635110/
4.Hamblin, M. R. (2016). Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signaling in Photobiomodulation. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29164625/
5.Jiexiu Zhao. (2015). Red Light and the Sleep Quality and Endurance Performance of Chinese Female Basketball Players. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499892/
6.Jiexiu Zhao. (2014). Red Light and the Sleep Quality and Endurance Performance of Chinese Female Basketball Players. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499892/