Exercise is an essential part of a healthy, active lifestyle. It improves your heart and lungs and also builds strong muscles and bones. However, exercise can lead to sore muscles. This is common if you take a break from exercising and then go back if you try a new exercise or increase your intensity. You may strain your muscles or get small tears in your muscle fibers. These are signs that your muscles are trying to respond to this new exercise, grow, and get stronger.
Your muscles may get sore right away (acute soreness) or in some cases, the discomfort may peak 2-3 days after your workout (delayed-onset muscle soreness). Personally, I get the most muscle soreness 2-3 days after especially with my legs.
To help relieve muscle soreness, try:
- Gentle stretching
- Muscle massage
- Ice to help reduce inflammation
- Heat to help increase blood flow to your muscles. I find a warm bath with Radox very helpful.
- Use a Foam Roller or massage gun
- Magnesium – there’s no magic bullet for fitness, but magnesium comes close. It helps with energy, muscle strength, flexibility, sleep, and stress management.
Unfortunately, you can’t avoid sore muscles. It’s part of getting stronger and healthier, but, there are things you can do to lessen the amount of soreness.
Warm-up – Studies show that warming up before exercise may be better than stretching. It wakes up the muscles by increasing blood flow to them.
Drink water – Water helps control your body temperature, loosen your joints, and transport nutrients to create energy. Without water, you may get muscle cramps, fatigue, dizziness, or more serious symptoms.
Rest – Wait about 48 hours before working the same muscle groups to the same intensity. Limited or lighter exercise of the same muscles can actually help. Avoid complete rest and immobilization. For example, if you were sore after a run, a light walk or bike ride the next few days can help.
Use proper technique – Having the right technique when exercising helps protect you from muscle strain or injury. If you are unsure how to do an exercise, ask a staff member in your gym and they can show you the proper form.
Cool down – It’s important to stretch after you work out. Your muscles are relaxed and more flexible when they’re warm. Try this stretching routine to relieve muscle tension and joint tightness.
Stay within your limits – Working out is a marathon, not a sprint, you may be tempted to push yourself but remember to progress slowly. Over time, you can increase the amount of weight you lift. If you increase too soon, you may injure yourself.
Sleep – Sleep is critical for many reasons, but it’s also one of the most important components of exercise recovery. Non-rapid eye movement sleep increases protein synthesis, which is needed to repair damaged muscles.
Massage Gun – Massage guns (use code FITTHUT15 for a 15% discount) have grown in popularity and are one of the fitness industry’s trendiest tools. Fitness enthusiasts and athletes use massage guns before and after working out, on rest days, and whenever they feel muscle pain. Benefits include a decrease in muscle pain and tension, improved flexibility, a reduction in lactic acid to help with muscle soreness, and more. However, it’s important to know how and when to use it, for more information on the effectiveness of using a massage gun, how and when to use it, and more click here.