Getting in a good workout makes you feel great. Seeing yourself sweat and feeling your heart race are just the indicators you need to confirm that you’re doing right by your body. You ultimately want to feel this way everyday, but there’s just one thing keeping you from pushing yourself to the limit; muscle soreness.
Muscle soreness, whether it’s directly after a workout, or a delayed onset, can definitely interfere with your fitness goals. If you don’t know how to ease the pain and recover quickly, you can easily fall off the fitness wagon. Here are four ways to soothe your post workout soreness and keep your muscles in tip top condition.
Try Heat Therapy
There’s nothing like a hot bath or shower after you’ve had an exhausting workout. The heat soothes your muscles and helps you relax more. This is the most common way that people relieve muscle soreness, and it definitely works. If you’re not a big fan of soaking in hot water, then a heating pad would also work well on the affected area. Just 15-20 minutes of heat therapy can help you feel much better.
Use a Foam Roller
Using a foam roller is a form of self massage, and it’s very effective. The goal is to apply pressure to the muscle to increase blood circulation to the affected area. Foam rolling also works to remove adhesions in the muscle, which are responsible for the tightness you feel that restricts your range of motion. The key to a successful self massage session is to spend at least a minute or two on each muscle group. If you’re not used to doing this, it can take a little while to adjust, but there are some great resources available online to teach you how to get started.
Get a Massage
A good massage can quickly put you back together after a grueling workout session. This doesn’t have to be a very intense massage either; 15-20 minutes of moderate kneading and rubbing can yield results. Massaging relieves muscle soreness because it helps to reduce inflammation (the cause of the soreness), and also promotes cell repair. This is why professional athletes are constantly in the masseuses’ office. They’re not there to relax, but to kickstart the cell regeneration process in their muscles, and to reduce inflammation.
Do Some Light Activity
It may sound counterproductive, but doing light activity using the muscles which are sore can actually help reduce the discomfort you feel. This is particularly true with delayed onset soreness, or soreness that occurs 24-48 hours after your workout. The science behind this states that when the muscle heats up, blood flow increases and delivers oxygen and healing nutrients to the area. This doesn’t mean you have to continue the same regimen, but do some light activity with those muscles to get them heated up.
Now, muscle soreness and muscle pain are two very different things. Soreness allows you to function, but in mild to moderate discomfort. Pain causes great discomfort, and could be a sign that you have an injury that needs medical attention. To avoid overdoing it and creating a medical condition, listen to your body while you’re working out, especially if you’re starting a new routine. If you feel any pain, stop what you’re doing and modify the exercise until you’re comfortable.
Muscle soreness doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising until the discomfort goes away. Use these tips to get some relief, and continue with your fitness goals. In time, after you have adapted to the exercises you’re doing, you’ll feel much less sore and far more energized after each session.