Everyone pushed themselves during exercise and instinctively knew they’d be extremely sore the next day. Muscle soreness, DOMS—-delayed onset muscle soreness—is the pain and stiffness felt after pushing too hard. It doesn’t happen immediately but takes between 24 and 48 hours to appear. It happens because of inflammation that occurs when muscle tissue breaks down. You need muscle tissue to break down and microtears in the muscles in order for it to repair itself, grow and get stronger, but it can be painful until it does. There are some steps you can take to ease the muscle soreness in the meantime.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Dehydration can make sore muscles even sorer. While you’re working out and afterward, drinking plenty of water can help flush out waste and reduce the pain. Water is an exceptional hydrator, but so is coffee. In fact, studies show coffee hydrates as well as water, plus it has a bonus benefit if you drink it before the workout, it can prevent DOMS. In fact, one study showed it helped prevent DOMS by 48% when consumed before exercising. It helps to reduce both muscle fatigue and soreness.
Get a massage.
Whether you use special oils or an OTC remedy, stimulating circulation can help reduce pain. In fact, regular massages may even help prevent future bouts with DOMS. The muscles of the people that get regular massages have more blood vessels, according to a 2015 study. That means improved circulation and quicker recovery time. For an at-home massage that’s quick and easy, consider getting a massage gun. Studies show that whether you use a massage gun or get a massage, doing it immediately after a workout provides more benefits.
Use hot and cold treatments.
Muscle soreness is eased by both ice packs and warm water. You should start by applying ice to any area that feels inflamed or has a burning sensation. It can numb the area. Once inflammation sets in, reduce it with warm baths or showers. You can add Epsom salts to bathwater to help further reduce the pain. While there are only anecdotal examples of the magnesium in Epsom salts being absorbed through the skin and no scientific study, taking magnesium supplements can help reduce pain in people who are deficient.
- Tart cherries or red raspberries may not be at the top of your list for a snack, but studies show that drinking tart cherry juice before, during and after exercise can help reduce muscle pain. The same is true of red raspberries.
- Getting adequate rest is important for recovery. Keeping legs elevated can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation.
- While you don’t want to do heavy lifting or push yourself, active recovery can help speed the healing process. Walking, bicycling and stretching boosts circulation, reduces inflammation and speeds recovery.
- Get plenty of sleep. Use an OTC pain reliever to do that if necessary. If you find the pain too intense or doesn’t start to feel better after several days of using techniques to reduce it, see your health care professional.
For more information, contact us today at UpFit Training Academy