7 Tips on How to Relieve Soreness After Working Out
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Sensations you feel throughout your muscles during the first 12-48 hours after your workout is often referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). In order to increase your muscle size, you must stretch and expand the muscle tissues, which is actually creating microscopic tears. This is where muscle soreness comes from. Your body lets you know when it’s repairing itself through muscle soreness and when it’s time for you to stress those particular muscles again.
However, don’t let the normal muscle soreness from working out stop you from achieving your goals. Below are 7 tips on how to relieve soreness after working out:
- Stretch – Stretching is a key component of every workout. When you stretch, you allow oxygen to flow into your muscles which helps to speed up their recovery time. Be sure to do at least a 5-minute warm up and cool down before and after each workout. I know it is extremely tempting to just shut down after you complete your workout, but in fact, you may be missing out on the most important step to increase muscle size.When your muscles are warm and flexible you are better able to stretch, which helps with muscle gain and aids in relieving soreness. Light stretching before your muscles become tight and stiff can increase your flexibility and reduce the amount of soreness you will feel the next day.
- Drink Water – Dehydration can be a main source of soreness. Research recommends drinking half of your body weight in ounces each day before accounting for exercise. According to Health Discovery, you should drink 8-16 oz of water 2 hours before exercise, and another 4-8 oz immediately before exercising. During exercise, they recommend drinking 4-8 oz every 15-20 minutes. And then afterward, you’ll want to make sure you replace any fluid you depleted – or 16 oz for every pound of body weight lost during your workout. Drinking enough water will help keep your body hydrated.
You might be wondering if sports drinks are a good substitute for water. Typical sports drinks contain too much sugar and artificial ingredient, which makes them slower and harder to digest. They may cause gastrointestinal distress, and may even cause further dehydration – which is what you’re trying to avoid while working out. A fantastic alternative to plain water and sports drinks is Hydrate. Hydrate was created with an ideal ratio of carbohydrates and electrolytes that, when combined with a specific amount of water, creates the optimal fluid absorption during exercise.
- Eat Protein – Protein is essential to building lean muscle and helping muscle repair itself and grow. The sooner muscles recover, the less soreness you will have. Be sure to eat some protein within 30 minutes of working out. Food and drinks to avoid after a workout include coffee, white bread, popcorn, and candy. Instead choose lean meats, fish, nuts, chicken, or quinoa. Or you can try a post-workout supplement, I recommend Recover, which combines both protein (20g per serving) and pomegranate extract to help combat muscles soreness and help strength recovery.
Shakeology is another great source of protein (16-17g per serving) and can fit into your diet as great as a post-workout snack because it contains the necessary nutrients to help your body recover from an intense workout.
- Take a Warm Bath – A warm bath with two cups of Epsom salt after a workout is a great way to help relieve tight muscles. Taking a bath before bed will allow you to get more quality sleep and help you to wake up feeling refreshed.
- Massage – Rubbing or massaging the sore area promotes blood circulation and can help to reduce muscle tightness. Grab a foam roller, fitness ball, or even a baseball and roll it over the sore area. Better yet, schedule a massage appointment with a professional to help relax your muscles, relieve any stress you may have and also because it feels great!
- Alternate between Ice and Heat – Studies have shown that alternating between cold with hot effectively helps muscle recovery. Apply an ice pack to the sore area for 15 minutes, followed by a heat pack for another 15 minutes, and back again.
- Sleep – Sleep plays an essential role in the repairing of muscles. While we sleep, our muscles are relaxed allowing for the tissue to be repaired. If you have trouble falling asleep try turning off electronics an hour before you plan on heading to bed. Deep, slow breaths can also help you fall asleep quicker.
While most people feel like taking a day off following an intense workout, in many cases doing a low intensity/ low impact workout the next day can help reduce muscle tightness and soreness. By creating blood flow and pushing oxygen to the muscle groups through light exercise, the healing process is sped up versus sitting around and being sore and stiff. One easy guideline to follow is, “Always listen to what your body is telling you”. Follow these 7 tips when your body needs help to heal, but remember that muscle soreness is a natural and beneficial part of the workout routine and is key to developing gains in muscle size and strength.