We all know that feeling after a hard workout?you feel amazing mentally, but your muscles are very tired. This is normal because working out is supposed to be hard on the body. Sometimes, the muscle pain gets worse with time, especially the day after your extra hard workout?this is called delayed-onset muscle soreness. To prevent DOMS, there are great ways to relax muscles and allow them to recover quickly and painlessly and here?s how:
What is muscle soreness?
The aforementioned DOMS is a condition that appears after the damage to the muscle. When hard muscle use causes this damage, your body starts the process of healing by triggering inflammation. Also, there?s a lot of fluid collecting in the muscle, which puts additional pressure on the sore area, causing that unpleasant feeling of pain and tightness. Muscle soreness usually starts 12 to 24 hours after your workout.
Every time you exercise, you create micro-tears in the muscle, some exercises are causing more damage than others which results in higher levels of soreness. Any new exercises are especially notorious for triggering DOMS, but they can also appear when you up the intensity of your workout or do many eccentric movements.
Now that you know what exactly muscle soreness is, let?s see some ways to prevent it or at least minimize it. Foam rolling is a popular way to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and reduce sympathetic nervous system activity by reducing muscle tone. Muscle tone is a contraction of muscle that the brain does subconsciously. If you want to benefit from foam rolling, perform it for 10 to 15 minutes after your workout.
Massage, especially percussive massage treatment or vibration treatment is another great way to relax muscles and boost recovery. Massage guns that deliver this kind of massage are handheld gadgets that deliver hits and vibration to your muscles which promotes blood flow. And fresh blood in your muscles is great for recovery. When buying a muscle massager, opt for those that come with different attachments so you can reach different places and massage different muscle groups.
The best way to use your massage gun is after your workout. Go all over your body, find an area that is tight and sore and lightly go over it for a minute. Add pressure but not too much?excessive pain means you went too far. All it takes for these massagers to do their magic is a few sweeps over the tight muscle (using it for too long in one spot can cause muscle irritation).
If you suffer from an acute injury somewhere on your body and don?t want to feel too much pain after working out, try icing the area (especially if you notice swelling or feel excessive warmth). Grab an ice pack, wrap it in a towel and place it on a sore area for 10 to 15 minutes. If you don?t have an injury, but just feel pain from exercising, a warm pack can help with blood flow.
Stretching is an old trick that can help with muscle soreness as well. After you finish your workout, take 10 or 15 minutes to stretch your muscles slowly. And make sure to warm up before every workout by doing exercises like jumping jacks, running in place and swinging your arms. These will prepare the muscles for exercise and prevent that painful shock.
Water immersion (or ice baths and hot tubs) can also reduce muscle soreness while keeping your muscles in top condition. Here?s how professionals use water immersion: immerse your entire body in cold water (around 50?F or 10?C) and stay like that for 5 to 15 minutes. There?s another technique that recommends switching from cold to a warm bath.
Your muscles need nutrients in order to repair the damage and grow bigger and stronger. Eating after a workout is a great way to fuel your muscles and boost recovery. After a hard workout (within 30 minutes of your session) it?s best to ingest from 20 to 40 grams of protein and the same amount of carbs. Just for reference, this amounts to one serving of Greek yogurt with some berries and honey. Your body will use protein to extract the amino acids and rebuild muscles, while carbs will be used for refueling the energy storage you depleted during your workout.
If you feel muscle soreness, don?t cut exercise completely. Muscle soreness shows that you managed to stretch your muscles which are slowly healing and getting stronger, it?s not a reason to stay in bed. In fact, if you engage in some light exercise, you can detox your muscles from lactic acid and boost recovery.
The fact that you get muscle soreness is a good sign, meaning you give it your all during workouts. And by practicing the tips above, you can continue to do your best at the gym without too much pain afterwards.