Although the feeling of sore muscles after a tough workout is rewarding, it’s not necessarily comfortable. But, sore muscles after a workout, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), actually serves a purpose during the recovery period. According to Everyday Health, your body responds with the pain you feel so you don’t over-train, while letting your muscles recover.
DOMS usually peaks 48 to 72 hours after a tough workout. One of the top mistakes people make is going back to the gym and putting their body through more strenuous workouts, without giving their body enough time to fully recover.
If you’re seriously hurting after a workout, consider taking a day or two off to let your muscles heal and restore themselves. The best way to reduce muscle soreness is through muscle recovery.
Train Hard, Recover Right With Rapid Fit KC Personal Trainers
Just like workouts require proper form and techniques, avoiding unwanted muscle soreness requires proper recovery.
At Rapid Fit KC, our personal trainers take a comprehensive approach to training and muscle recovery. We’ll give you a customized workout plan, along with recovery tips to help avoid and get rid of sore muscles.
Note: if you’re starting a new training regimen, or haven’t exercised in a while — your body is most likely going to feel it the next day — so don’t count sore muscles as a setback.
While muscle soreness isn’t 100% avoidable, there are some preventative steps you can take to ensure you’re giving those muscle fibers enough time to heal and bounce back before your next workout. Check out a few ways to help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation!
Make Stretching a Priority
Muscle soreness isn’t a bad thing. But, you don’t want to experience the kind of soreness that’s uncomfortable and tends to linger longer than it should.
The best way to try and prevent unwanted muscle soreness is to incorporate stretching before and after your workout. Don’t neglect your warm-up or cool-down. Doing so can cause you to pull a muscle or cause injury.
You need to get your muscles warmed up prior to your workout. One way to do this is by using dynamic stretches (stretches that involve movement) to loosen up your muscles and get your body ready to move. Some easy, yet effective, stretches and warmups before a workout include: walking knee pulls, walking lunges, jogging in place, lateral bounds, etc. Here is a quick, five minute video to follow to ensure that you get your blood flowing before beginning your workout.
After you exercise, you should incorporate a cool down period. Take a walk and then sit and use static stretches (stretches you hold) to ease your muscles and prevent soreness. Think, touching your toes or holding your knee to your chest. Here is a five minute full-body stretch cool down video to consider as well!
Adding stretching into your workout routine is quick and easy and should take about 10 minutes total. By warming up and cooling down, you reduce the chances of being sore the next day.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Hydration is important before, throughout, and after your workout to prevent cramping and help decrease inflammation. Not only that, but water energizes your muscles and can help your endurance. Without enough of it, your muscles won’t be getting the electrolytes they need to maintain balance.
Water also helps your body better tolerate pain caused by sore muscles. According to the journal Psychophysiology, drinking an adequate amount of water can help increase your endurance and tolerance to pain. When in a dehydrated state — drinking under your recommended daily dose of water — perception and sensitivity to pain is radically higher.
Water will help speed up the recovery time from sore muscles, and is so important to incorporate into your workout. Sore muscles limit consistent strength building, and can be tough to work through, if it’s not addressed early. Dehydration can also worsen the recovery period (and it’s just bad for you in general).
Use Your Sore Muscles (Lightly)
The last thing you want is to do more damage to your muscle fibers. However, getting blood flow is extremely important in the recovery process. We suggest anything from a light walk or jog to more dynamic or static stretching.
If you find yourself back at the gym with sore muscles, we suggest only using 25 to 50 percent of the weight you would normally use. It’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it.
Unfortunately, staying on the couch and not targeting your sore muscles won’t help speed along the process.
Give Yourself A Massage
Massaging your sore muscles can feel relieving because it helps to reduce pro-inflammatory Cytokines, resulting in a reduction of muscle soreness. In order to give yourself a quick and easy massage, we recommend using a foam roller, cold massage roller or therapy muscle relief natural lotion. These items are easy to find at stores near you, or on Amazon.
Use Ice/Heat on Sore Muscles
It is best to apply ice first within 48 hours of the onset of sore muscles. The cold sensation will help reduce inflammation and blood flow, and also numbs the sore tissue. The cold acts as a temporary anesthetic and slows down the pain messages that are transmitted to the brain, according to Medical News Today. However, it’s important to note to never put ice directly on your skin, make sure to cover your ice pack with a washcloth.
You might want to consider a heat treatment if you are still experiencing muscle pain after a couple days, as it promotes blood flow and helps muscles relax. You can use anything from a hot pack to a heating pad, or even warming up a wet washcloth in the microwave. Regardless of the method used, heat will give some immediate relief to sore muscles.
Another well-known method that people tend to grab for at the onset of muscle pain is Icy Hot. There are options for gel, patches, spray, etc. The ingredients cause a cooling sensation followed by a warming sensation that distracts you from the pain by blocking pain signals sent to the brain. The cooling sensation dulls the pain while the warming sensation relaxes it away.
Rapid Fit KC Personal Trainers Can Help
Our trainers have the knowledge and insight to help you use and recover your muscles the most effective way, while preventing extensive muscle soreness and even possible injury.
At Rapid Fit KC, we understand that no two people are the same, and the same plan won’t work for everyone. Our certified personal trainers will work to craft a plan that is best for where you’re at in your fitness journey. We offer 1 on 1 personal training and group training sessions, and would love to chat with you about building a plan that works for you! Schedule your free 15 minute “no sweat intro” at the gym where we can make a plan to reach your fitness goals.
Get in touch with one of our team members today!