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Two Thirds of Americans Report Sore Muscles after Working Out, But Even Fewer Incorporate Recovery

Simple strategies like eating almonds may help with exercise recovery.


MODESTO, Calif., (June 11, 2024) – Whether you prefer walking along the beach or swimming laps in the pool during warmer weather, prioritizing exercise recovery will keep you going all summer long. According to a recent survey conducted by the Almond Board of California of 3,000 U.S. adults, it seems most Americans believe exercise recovery is important, but might not practice what they preach. While 76% of respondents report exercising weekly, 30% don't believe that their fitness routines are intense enough to need recovery and 22% don’t believe they exercise often enough to need recovery. Exercise recovery doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, simple activities, like eating almonds, can have an impact.

Skipping recovery may be why two thirds of Americans report their muscles are sore after exercising. And guess what? Exercise recovery isn’t only hydrating and stretching; the foods we eat can be just as valuable when looking for ways to properly recover. So, what is one wholesome snack that people can gravitate towards? Almonds. Research found that most study participants who ate almonds experienced reduced fatigue and tension, increased leg and lower back strength during recovery, and decreased muscle damage during the first day of recovery.1 This research was funded by the Almond Board of California and was conducted over four weeks among 64 U.S. adults ages 30 – 65 who are occasional exercisers. More recent research found that after eating two servings of almonds for eight weeks, participants experienced an almost 25 percent reduction in muscle soreness when performing an explosive power exercise over the recovery period.2 This research was also funded by the Almond Board of California, and was conducted among 25 mildly overweight middle-aged, physically active but untrained men and women. 

“I am constantly coaching my clients about how important exercise recovery is to their overall fitness routines, and that includes the foods they’re choosing to eat,” says Sports Dietitian Angie Asche. “Almonds have always been one of the foods I gravitate toward and recommend to others, because they make me feel good following a workout. I’ve noticed less fatigue and muscle tension whenever I eat almonds as part of my exercise recovery routine, which is why I always grab a handful or two for after a hard workout in the gym or a nice long run outdoors.”

When it comes to recovering with foods, currently about half of individuals tend to reach for ultra-processed protein bars (52%) and protein shakes (50%). However, most Americans (79%) also report wanting to eat fewer processed snacks. All-natural almonds can help make the exercise recovery process super easy with just two handfuls doing the trick, as Asche suggests. With many essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin E and magnesium, 6g of protein, 4g of fiber, 13g of unsaturated fat, and 1g of saturated fat in just one serving, almonds are a delicious and nutritious snack. This can provide reassurance that one can feel good after exercising, helping to motivate the 33% of Americans who report lacking motivation to exercise. As people spend more time being outdoors and active this summer, this simple yet effective change to your exercise recovery routine can make all the difference.

For more information on the survey results and to check out more of Angie’s exercise recovery tips, please visit and follow California Almonds on Instagram, Facebook, and X

Survey Methodology: A custom survey was conducted among a sample of 3,024 U.S. adults 18 years of age and older. The survey was live on January 29 – February 4, 2024. Quota sampling was used to collect a nationwide sample of respondents who were then weighted by gender, age, region, race/ethnicity, and education to mirror the demographical composition of the U.S. population.  

Subgroup analysis was conducted to understand nuances across audience segments, with a priority on the following: 

  • Almond eaters: n=2,495 
  • Exercise at least once/week: n=2,309 
  • Include exercise recovery at least somewhat: n=1,248 

About California Almonds
California Almonds make life better by what we grow and how we grow. The Almond Board of California promotes natural, wholesome and quality almonds through leadership in strategic market development, innovative research, and accelerated adoption of industry best practices on behalf of the more than 7,600 almond farmers and processors in California, most of whom are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.

About Angie Asche
Angie Asche began her professional experience after obtaining a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and Exercise Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She went on to complete her dietetic internship and Master of Science in Nutrition and Physical Performance at Saint Louis University. Since founding her company, Eleat Sports Nutrition, Angie has worked with hundreds of colleges and professional athletes nationwide in MLB, NHL, and NFL. She has become a media spokesperson for international brands and is also the author of Fuel Your Body: How to Cook and Eat for Peak Performance. 

1. Nieman, D. C., Omar, A. M., Kay, C. D., Kasote, D. M., Sakaguchi, C. A., Lkhagva, A., Weldemariam, M. M.,& Zhang Q. (2023). Almond intake alters the acute plasma dihydroxy-octadecenoic acid (DiHOME) response to eccentric exercise. Front. Nutr. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.1042719


2. Siegel L, Rooney J, Marjoram L, Mason L, Bowles E, van Keulen TV, Helander C, Rayo V, Hong MY, Liu C, Hooshmand S, Kern M and Witard OC (2024) Chronic almond nut snacking alleviates perceived muscle soreness following downhill running but does not improve indices of cardiometabolic health in mildly overweight, middle-aged, adults. Front. Nutr. 10:1298868. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1298868

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