Eight Ways to Relieve and Prevent Muscle Soreness
Whether you’re a runner or a strength trainer, you’ve probably experienced a sore muscle after a workout. For a cross country runner just starting their season, you might find it difficult getting up the stairs or out of bed. For someone new to the strength area at the gym, you’re feeling the burn just getting into your car and reaching for the seatbelt. Fortunately, there are some ways to help relieve and prevent muscle soreness.
1.Start with a warm-up. A rise in temperature loosens up your body and dilates the blood vessels in your muscles. With increased blood flow your muscles receive more water and oxygen, keeping them loose during a workout. Your warm-up doesn’t need to be intense, just enough to work up your heart rate and body temperature.
2.Work at your skill level. This is it, it’s a brand new year and you’re getting in the gym! Let’s start with a free body workout by easing into a routine at your comfort level. Don’t exhaust your muscles, get them used to the routine and work your way up gradually. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
3.Stretch. Here’s an age-old favorite. Dedicate as little as five minutes before workout to create joint mobility and muscle flexibility. Warm up with free body movement using a wide range of motion. Stretching helps improve flexibility, reduces the risk of injury, and increases blood flow to a muscle. This keeps them from getting tight and uncomfortable.
4.Try Myofascial release. Myofascial release is a method that helps relax tough membranes that wrap, connect, and support muscles. After a workout, they become stressed. Try using a foam roller on your calves after a leg workout and see if you feel the difference.
5.Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to muscle soreness and cramps because muscles can’t perform correctly without water and electrolytes. Make sure you have a water bottle handy.
6.Give yourself recovery time. During workouts, muscles tear. You need to allow time for them to rebuild. This doesn’t mean you need to skip the gym, but you need to work different muscle groups on different days. For example, do chest and biceps one day, legs the next, and back and triceps on another day. Your rotation doesn’t have to follow this routine, but it’s important to diversify your workouts.
7.Get enough sleep. During sleep, the body recovers from the labors of the day. Doctors recommend sleeping about eight hours each night to allow your brain and metabolic system to recover.
8.Eat the right food. This allows us to feed our muscles so they can regenerate after a workout. Make sure you eat a well-balanced meal consisting of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Don’t forget to get the right dose of vitamins from fruits and vegetables.
Try these tips to be more comfortable during and after your workouts. If you have questions, a certified personal trainer is always a good resource to turn to. If you experience intense and/or constant pain, you may want to consult your physician.