If you’ve ever carried something heavy for long, ran, or hiked to the top of a mountain, you have experienced post-workout muscle soreness. No one prepares you for sore muscles the following day after a workout; this discomfort is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Although experiencing soreness is uncomfortable, you may take it as a sign that you’re putting in good work in your workouts. Usually, it lasts 24 to 48 hours before you get used to the routine; too much muscle soreness can affect your motion range. Here are ways to help during your recovery process.
If you’re working out intensely, dehydration is your worst enemy. Muscle soreness is caused by their breakdown and sometimes the build-up of lactic acid. To flush out waste and deliver the much-needed nutrients, you must drink a lot of water after your workout. Sometimes it can be challenging to determine when you’re dehydrated, but the chances are that you reach dehydration before you feel thirsty. One of the indicators of dehydration includes dark or medium yellow urine. Drink eight ounces of water every fifteen to thirty minutes of exercise. You can keep a reminder or have a water bottle close by to avoid forgetting.
After working out rigorously, stretch your muscles for about ten minutes to prevent sore muscles. Stretching complements your before-exercise warm-ups and helps to align your muscles. Instead of resting immediately, cool down your muscles with decreased activity to make your muscles recover-ready. This way, you improve your blood flow, reducing blood lactation responsible for sore muscles. Ensure you stretch every part of your body, including the neck, arms, legs, and back.
Within half an hour of working out intensely, eat healthily. When you feed your body with the right foods, your muscles recover fast because they gain the ability to repair and grow stronger. After a gym session, it’s normal for one to take a snack and head home, but don’t stop there; otherwise, if you skimp on nutritious meals, your muscles won’t have the energy to recover.
Start your recovery process with carbs, proteins, and vitamins. Proteins are especially essential in providing amino acids to rebuild your muscles while carbs replenish your energy. Workouts increase hunger levels; instead of consuming too much food at a go, take many small portions at different times and visit Steel Supplements to increase pain tolerance, build endurance and strength, and replenish nutrients.
Use a foam roller
Foam rolling, similar to massage, entails rolling your muscles like dough. Foam rolling relieves tension in your muscles’ connective tissue through myofascial release and helps to reduce the onset of DOMS. Similarly, during subsequent workouts, using a foam roller can improve performance. If you don’t have a foam roller, invest in one, as it will come in handy. Spend ten to fifteen minutes daily using your foam roller after workouts as part of the cool-down.
Sleep may not seem to have a direct impact on your post-workout recovery process, but it’s critical. According to a Sports Medicine review published in 2014, while in your sleep, Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) increases protein synthesis that is essential in repairing damaged muscles. Whether you hit the gym or perform your workout routine in the morning or evening, at the end of the day, make sure you get a goodnight’s sleep; aim at scoring 7 to 8 hours.
Perform light exercises the day after a challenging workout
The day after a challenging workout can take a toll on your muscles; this is when you start to experience the delayed onset muscle soreness. While you may not have the energy to work out rigorously like the previous day, don’t spend your day in bed or on the couch; do some light exercises. These can include gentle movements like slow walks around your neighbourhood, cycling, resistance training, or restorative yoga. Avoid performing another intense workout consecutively on the same muscle groups to avoid increasing damage to the tissues.
Perform cold or heat therapy
Although there are ongoing debates about cold and heat therapy and which one’s suitable, do what gives you relief. The relief is usually temporary, but when your muscles are very sore, it’s worth it. Heat therapy from warm showers or heating pads minimizes pain signals and tension while helping with blood circulation.
On the other hand, cold therapy reduces swelling when you experience extreme soreness, ultimately relieving pain-causing tension. You can practice cold therapy by placing an ice pack on the swollen area or taking an ice bath.
Go for a massage
Massages feel great, but that’s just a bonus. When you have sore muscles, a trigger point or sports massage might be what you need to relax the tightness and soothe aches. A massage works through the knots to improve blood flow to sore areas and push out the pooled fluid for quick recovery. It also helps to relax the muscles.
Use topical solutions
Topical solutions include ointments and balms. Although they may not go deep enough into the muscles, they contain components that numb and cool them down. If you’re experiencing too much soreness to the point where it becomes difficult to sleep or turn in bed, you can rub them. The coolness overpowers the pain but doesn’t fasten muscle recovery.
Eat mushrooms or tart cherries
Tart cherries contain many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that help relieve muscle soreness and reduce swelling. According to a 2010 study, long-distance runners who consumed cherry juice for eight days reported decreased muscle pain.
Just like tart cherries, mushrooms contain anti-inflammatory properties that aid in reducing muscle soreness. However, if you’re drinking tart cherry juice, be aware that it has high sugar content.
Staying active through exercising is essential for healthy living, but you have to be ready for the work and pain that comes with it. Delayed onset muscle soreness is uncomfortable and sometimes painful and can hinder you from going about your daily routines as usual. However, you can improve it by eating healthily, consuming protein supplements, hydrating, and getting enough rest. Similarly, you can get a massage, use a foam roller, or practice cold or heat therapy relief. However, we keep on the soreness to determine when it’s unhealthy.