After a good workout, haven’t we all admitted “This is going to hurt tomorrow.” ? Well, muscle soreness can be both limiting and stressful. Post-workout soreness is common, but that doesn’t make it any more bearable for the people who are experiencing it. What’s also common is people experiencing soreness wanting a cure for it!
DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is described as the muscular pain and stiffness that occurs following a heavy workload. It signals that you caused damage to your muscle tissues and now, it needs time to repair which happens by triggering inflammation at the injured site.
Certain types of workouts cause more soreness than usual along with any workout that’s new to you. Some muscle soreness is a good thing but it shouldn’t last for a longer time than expected. Muscle soreness should not be your goal. You don’t have to be sore to know you had a good workout.
Here are 5 things you can you do During and After your workout to ease muscle soreness:
It might sound very basic but it is the most important aspect of muscle recovery. Hydrate before and after your workout. Water helps flush out waste products. When muscles break down, they release waste products and toxins that need to be filtered out of the body. These waste products are associated with increased soreness. Also, keep in mind that getting dehydrated during your workouts can significantly exacerbate symptoms of DOMS.
2. Have A Cup of Coffee
Pre-Workout Caffeine can reduce subsequent muscle soreness and fatigue. Research shows that coffee hydrates as well as water, which is important to keep in mind when trying to combat muscle pain.
3. Eat Within a Half-Hour After an Intense Workout
Good nutrition is enough to get antioxidants where they need to be. You will only be speeding up the recovery process by doing so and the muscles would grow back stronger. Make sure to get 20 to 40 grams of protein and 20 to 40 grams of carbs into your system within 30 minutes of an intense or long workout.
Prioritize meals and be sure to keep your daily protein intake fairly consistent so your tissues are fed a steady stream of amino acids throughout the day.
4. Use a Foam Roller
Massage the sore muscles using a foam roller. Rolling over the involved muscles will help soften the tight muscles and help decrease the muscle swelling by delivering more nutrients and oxygen to the affected area. It can also improve performance in subsequent workouts.
If you wish to try a foam roller, buy a softer version to begin with. Firmer foam rollers will allow you to apply more pressure, but they can be intense if you’re unaccustomed to them.
5. Recovery Workouts and Stretches
Light recovery workouts increase blood flow which naturally helps in aiding muscle soreness. Cool down from your workouts with some light cardio, and schedule low-intensity, recovery-focused workouts and stretches. You should not go heavy during every workout to see the desired result. Aerobic exercise, like jogging or cycling as well as yoga, Pilates and other low-impact workouts are all great options for keeping DOMS at bay. [Make sure you warm-up before any workout.]
Other methods to decrease the pain caused by muscle soreness:
– Oral Pain relief like Ibuprofen can help decrease the pain. However, depending on the severity of soreness, time is the best medicine to DOMS.
– Icing the involved area for 20 minutes several times a day will help decrease the swelling in the muscles and the pain.
– Heat can also minimize tension and pain signals. So in case of muscle soreness, you could opt for a relaxing hot/warm water bath and that would make you feel better.
Please note: If you experience sharp pain during your workout, or if the soreness doesn’t start improving after a couple of days, that can be a sign that you’re actually injured and need to see a health care professional.