Sore muscles may make you feel proud of the hard work they did, but if they’re making it hard to get around, here’s how to relieve sore muscles sooner.
“No pain, no gain.” The old adage has some truth to it.
If your muscles don’t hurt after an intense exercise session, the sad reality is, you’re not working hard enough. Delayed onset muscle soreness is the term used to describe the muscular pain you feel some 24 to 48 hours after you’ve left the gym.
It is brought about by the inflammation that arises when the muscle tissue breaks down. In this article, we look at how to relieve sore muscles without killing your results. Read on.
How to Relieve Sore Muscles 101: Don’t Stop Moving
Who in their right mind wants to hit the gym with sore muscles? It’s the perfect reason to cling to the sofa for a couple of days, right? Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Tempting as it might be to couch-surf for a couple of days all in the name of “recovery” it doesn’t do much for your sore muscles. If you and then hit the gym a few days later, you’ll find yourself dealing with the same issue all over again.
The best way to alleviate muscle soreness is to keep moving. Research shows that performing a 20-minute bout of low to moderate intensity workouts after a pain-inducing workout not only reduces pain but it actually boosts your strength as well.
Hit the Spa
Finally! You now have a legit excuse to hit the spa every so often.
Studies show that getting a massage after an intense gym session significantly reduces pain associated with delayed onset muscle soreness. What’s more, frequent massages do more than just relieve sore muscles.
They actually boost your body’s ability to ward off muscle soreness. Muscles that are regularly massaged have way more blood vessels than those which aren’t. This means that the recovery rates in these muscles are a lot faster than in non-massaged ones.
If no one’s available to give you a body massage why not do it yourself? That’s the whole reason why foam rolls were invented.
It’s the most effective form of self-massage that is proven to relieve delayed onset muscle soreness. All you have to do is place the roller underneath the targeted area and slowly move your body back and forth over it.
It works by relieving tension in the connective tissues even in hard to reach places like sore back muscles. Repeat the process for 10 to 15 minutes every day as part of your cool-down workout.
Revel in Your Caffeine Fix
If you look closely at the ingredients of most over-the-counter pain medications, you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common – caffeine. Caffeine is a well-known analgesic.
This is the medical term that refers to its pain-killing properties. Aside from giving you that jolt of energy you need for your early morning workouts, taking a pre-gym cup of coffee can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness by up to 48%. Coffee makes everything better.
Eat Tart Cherries and Marijuana
Did you know that a couple of servings of tart cherries every week improves muscle function and reduces recovery time? They are rich in powerful antioxidants that work their magic to reduce muscle inflammation that causes soreness.
How’s this for the cherry on top? You can work them into your daily smoothies or eat them as they are. They make quite a tasty treat.
Red raspberries are just as effective for sore muscle relief. Additionally, ingesting cannabinoids like CBD is another effective way to reduce muscle pain. Learn more about this here to see how you can make it part of your post-workout regimen.
Wear Compression Garments
After an intense workout session, wearing a compression garment for 24 hours reduces the onset of muscle soreness. These garments work by holding the muscles in place and increasing blood flow to the affected areas.
This promotes faster recovery of muscle function. Compression garments are available for most major muscle groups. They can be worn as sleeves, leggings, and socks.
Take an Ice Bath
It’s a well-known fact that pro-athletes always soak in an ice-bath after an intense training session. There’s a scientific reason behind this.
Cold therapy has been used for ages to reduce swelling and nerve activity. This, in turn, promotes muscle pain relief.
If you’re not a pro-athlete, grab a bag of frozen vegetables out of the freezer and apply it to the affected area. Remember, you should never put ice directly to your skin.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, heat therapy also works to reduce thigh muscle pain and any other muscle soreness that comes about after exercising. While dry heat and moist heat are both effective remedies against delayed onset muscle soreness, the former records higher efficacy than the latter.
So run yourself a hot bath and soak in sit to relieve muscle aches and pain. You can also apply a wet heating pack or warm damp towel to the affected areas.
Be Mindful of Your Workouts
In order to prevent the onset of future muscle soreness, being mindful of your body and workouts are the most effective deterrents. Before you jump straight into your workout, ensure that you adhere to a strict warm-up routine that prepares your body for exercise.
Likewise, after you’re done exercising, don’t move on until you’ve done some cool-down workouts. Stick to a specific workout regimen that gradually increases in intensity and duration.
Not only does this reduce your risk for injury but it also lessens the soreness you experience after each completed workout. Remember to stay hydrated before, during and after your gym session.
The Bottom Line
In order for your muscles to grow, you have to break them down so that they can repair and regenerate. Troublesome as that may be, sore muscles are actually a good thing.
It points to an elevation in the intensity of an exercise regimen or novel movements that have been introduced to the training program. That’s how you get results.
Use the strategies in this guide to learn how to relieve sore muscles in order to get the best results from your training program. Check out our blog for more health-related posts.