Last Updated on March 17, 2017 by TFM Staff
If you exercise regularly, you will probably at some point experience sore muscles. This happens especially after you start a new workout routine or increase the intensity of your workouts. Soreness can be a good thing. You build strength by creating tiny micro tears in your muscles and then letting them recover and get stronger. However, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Thankfully, there are ways to ease sore muscles.
Apply Heat to Muscles
Applying heat to sore muscles will help ease the pain, as well as increase blood flow to the area so they recover faster. You can sit in a hot tub or warm bath, take a steamy shower, sit in a sauna or use a heating pad on a particularly sore area.
Stretching is extremely important to do after any workout, not just tough ones. The more flexible your muscles are, the less likely they are to feel stiff. Stretching can be used as a preventative measure for sore muscles, but a deep stretching session can help muscles that are already sore. Try going to a gentle yoga class on your rest day.
While it seems counterintuitive, movement, whether by stretching or by doing some light exercise, can help ease sore muscles. It increases blood flow and oxygen to your muscles while making them more pliable and less stiff. You may be able to do a regular work out if you’re just a little sore, but try to ease off if the soreness is extreme. A brisk walk or gentle yoga works, too.
Knead Your Muscles
Massage muscles is another great way to increase blood flow so you can feel better faster. Foam rollers are a great option for massaging your muscles, also called self-myofascial release. You can also spring for a nice massage at a professional studio by a licensed massage therapist or even a physical therapist.
You probably already know that your diet has a direct impact on how you feel during a workout, but it influences how you feel afterward, too. Eat a meal with lots of protein shortly after a tough, muscle-building workout. Your muscles need protein to recover, build and get stronger. Drink plenty of water as well to keep yourself hydrated.
Sometimes you just need some time off. Muscles are built in the gym, but the periods of rest and recovery are where they really get stronger. If you’re pushing yourself every day, you don’t give those micro tears time to really heal, which will slow your progress in the long run. You can take some active rest days, but don’t feel bad about taking a few days to just chill. Your body might need it.
However, be aware of your body and learn to recognize the difference between soreness and real pain. Soreness will feel like a dull ache or a tight muscle, and you’ll generally feel it equally on both sides of your body. It typically doesn’t start until a day or two after a tough workout. Sharp pains, bruising, swelling, pain you feel immediately or pain on only one side could be the start of an injury. If you think you might be injured, take a few days to rest before working out again. But if it doesn’t get better within a few days, you may want to see a doctor.
Final Word on Easing Sore Muscles
Overall, try these tips to help ease your sore muscles and you’ll likely be back at it soon. Working out is one of the best things you can do for your body, but it’s natural to feel some soreness. Hopefully these tips help ease some of that pain.