Muscle soreness after an intensive workout session is unavoidable. But it’s annoying and often painful. The good news is you can ease the sore with some effective strategies.
Depending on the intensity of the workout, the soreness can be barely noticeable or extremely painful. The question is, how to cure it? Let’s understand that together.
Why Do Muscles Get Sore?
Okay, have you wondered why muscles sore after you exercise, especially if you are working out after a long time? This soreness signals that your muscle tissues have been damaged. But don’t panic, there is nothing to panic about. Only micro-tearing happens. The body initiates the repair by triggering inflammation at the site that is injured.
Fluid starts accumulating in the muscles and puts extra pressure on the damaged areas. This is why you experience a sensation of tightness and pain. This feeling lasts between 12 to 24 hours after the exercise.
It’s normal to create tissue damage every time you exercise, certain workouts are can cause higher damage and by extension soreness. However, any workout that you are new to or that is intense than usual, is going to cause soreness.
Even if it’s not an intensive workout, and it’s just walking down a hill, your muscles will go through damage, and movements like these are going to cause soreness.
Muscle Soreness Is Good but It Shouldn’t Last Too Long
You may think torn or inflamed muscles are bad but some degree of inflammation signals muscle growth and repair. If you help the muscles in recovering from the damage, they will grow stronger and bigger. So, when the inflammation occurs, you must control it.
If you are wondering you have to be absolutely sore after a workout for it to be effective, then that’s not the case. Some people don’t feel any soreness at all. It’s a sign their muscles are strong enough to handle the workout. On the flip side, if the soreness lasts for long, this means your muscles are under extra strain and it could be a sign of a different problem.
Can Warming Up Help?
Stretching exercises that must be performed before the workout help prevent soreness and injury. That’s what we all have heard. But experts say stretching before exercise is not a good idea. It does not have any effect on muscle soreness. Therefore, it’s not mandatory to warm up.
How to Ease Muscle Soreness
Before we begin the remedies, keep in mind there are no instant solutions. The muscles need time to heal. Here are some strategies that you can use for easing the soreness and expedite muscle recovery:
Staying hydrated is pertinent for muscle recovery. Water keeps the fluid moving through the system. This can reduce inflammation and deliver the nutrients your muscles need.
The only problem is it’s hard to figure out when you are hydrated. Why? Because there are good chances you have reached dehydrated before the thirst hits. Check the color of your urine. If it’s medium to dark yellow, this means you need to up your hydration game.
Use a Foam Roller
Do self-myofascial release. It helps release muscle tension and move the fluids inside the body after exercising. Foam rollers reduce DOMS and increase circulation to help deliver oxygen to the affected area. As a result, muscle tenderness and swelling will reduce.
For those who are trying a foam roller for the first time, use a softer version. A firm roller will apply more pressure but it can intense if you are not experienced. Use a foam roller immediately after the workout in the areas that require smoothing out.
Eat After 30 Minutes of Workout
You must be tired after the workout aren’t you? Rest a bit and have a meal after 30 minutes. The sooner your muscles receive nutrients, the faster they will recover. In fact, they will grow stronger and your recovery process will speed up.
Experts say you will need 20 to 40 grams of proteins and 20 to 40 grams of carbs in your system. Protein consists of amino acids to help rebuild muscles and carbs help fuel your muscles.
A post-workout snack is not enough. You must consume nutritious foods the rest of the day so that the muscles receive the right nutrients throughout the day. This will make you heal faster.
When the Muscles Are Too Sore, Do a Light Exercise
It’s no brainer, when the muscles are sore, this means you must rest. Yes, getting up and exercising the next day is important but there are no books that say the exercise should be intensive. To help yourself recover faster, it’s recommended to perform light exercises the next day. It doesn’t make sense to put pressure on the muscles that are already sore, right?
Have a Restful Sleep
Last but not least, get a restful night of sleep. It’s extremely critical when it comes to muscle recovery.
Of course, you can’t sleep right after the workout but when you hit the bed, make sure you sleep for at least 7 hours. Let your body relax and recover from all the hard work you did during the day.
If you have trouble sleeping, make sure you close all screens at least an hour before bedtime. Dim the lights and play soothing music in the background. This will help you sleep.
Call It a Day
Some days, the soreness can be intense. Never mind popping a painkiller and calling it a day. Don’t put your muscles under intense pressure. Research says that taken ibuprofen can prevent muscles from growing. Therefore, don’t take a painkiller your go-to solution whenever you are in massive pain.
Try other remedies mentioned in the list. The best approach is to take a day off so that your muscles get all the time they need to recover. You will feel much better.
Long story short, some level of muscle soreness after a workout is normal. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome the pain and get back on track!