Updated: Dec 4, 2022
There’s nothing more satisfying than that feeling you get right after a good workout. “Amazing” doesn’t even start to describe it. Knowing you’ve bested yourself again, became better than you were yesterday. It’s like standing atop a mountain, primed and ready to take on the world. It’s fulfilling and exhilarating. However, it comes with some downsides, and sore muscles are one of them. Fortunately, that’s also the biggest downside. Although they are a pain to endure, sore muscles are nothing but a nuisance, and a short-lasting one at that. Still, it never hurts to speed up the recovery process. So, to help you get right back on your feet, we bring you some advice on how to relieve sore muscles after exercising. Follow them, and you’ll be hitting the gym again in no time!
Is there a way to prevent sore muscles?
This is quite a common question, especially for people who just started exercising actively. The answer is: No, there’s no way to prevent sore muscles. Regardless of how much you prepare or how you exercise, the soreness will always be there. However, you can minimize it if you build a good workout regime, which will play to your current strength and endurance levels. Therefore, consult your trainer and create a regime that suits your needs. That way, you won’t overexert yourself, and you’ll only keep building up your muscle.
What causes sore muscles?
You’ve probably heard the expression: “Broken bones heal stronger.” Well, muscles are the same. Soreness is a result of micro-tears in your muscle fiber. This also causes an inflammatory reaction. When you combine the two, the product is the pain you’re feeling after a good exercise. As the muscle fiber repairs itself, it becomes more resistant to tearing. In other words – it gets stronger. Therefore, soreness is your body’s way of telling you you’re doing a good job!
A word of cation, although sore muscles are a good sign, the pain shouldn’t last too long. It usually starts 12 – 24 hours after exercising, reaching its peak after 24 – 72 hours. If the pain persists well beyond this time (i.e., a week or more), it might be a sign of an actual injury. Another good indicator is if the pain is sharp and concentrated in specific areas. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a physician or physical therapist right away.
What are the best ways to relieve sore muscles after exercising?
Before we jump in, it’s important to note that there’s no single, perfect way to relieve sore muscles after exercising. Rather, they are a combination of different ways and methods that reduce the pain and make it go away faster.
#1 - Don’t stop moving
The absolute worst thing you can do for sore muscles is to spend days in bed, waiting for the pain to subside. The thing is, the more you lounge – the longer it will persist. Instead, opt for some light exercise, like walking or biking. You can even go back to your regular workout regime, but don’t push yourself too hard. In fact, a lot of professional athletes do precisely this to “break” the soreness. So, go back to the gym, reduce weights by 50% or even 75%, and work out! It won’t be long before you’re back at 100%!
#2 – Become a camel
Wait... What? Bear with us; it will all become clear. For this tip on how to relieve sore muscles after exercising, we’re taking a page from the camel’s playbook. Now, we know that camels don’t exercise or go to the gym. Although, that would be hilarious to see. But, do you know what they do, and do a lot? Drink water! In the case of sore muscles, it’s essential to follow their example. As muscles tear and repair, they release toxins and waste products. Therefore, it’s vital to get these harmful chemicals out of your body ASAP. And staying hydrated is the best way to do it.
#3 – Food, glorious food!
This is more of an extension of a previous tip. Nevertheless, it deserves mention on its own. We all know food is more than just sustenance. In fact, certain foods will help you reduce soreness, and by quite the margin! That said, go for meals rich in protein and antioxidants and avoid eating at night. Chicken or fish is a fantastic choice. Spice them up with mushrooms, kale, and artichokes for maximum effect. And, for a desert: pomegranates, strawberries, blueberries, or cherries – even dark chocolate. A tasty, healthy, and effective way to relieve sore muscles after exercising!
#4 – Catch some Z’s
Sometimes, after an intense workout, all you want to do is jump into bed. And – you should! Sleep promotes healing and helps reduce inflammation. As a result, you’ll feel less sore, and the pain won’t be as intense. Not to mention – both will last for a shorter period. So, hit the gym, then hit the sack, and you’ll be good as new!
#5 – Fire and Ice
Applying heat or cold to sore areas can help with the pain. Although this is not a proven method, it can make you more comfortable. Bear in mind that it is a short-term solution. Still, when discomfort is unbearable, every little relief is a welcome one.
#6 – Something obvious
A post-workout massage is an incredible way to relieve sore muscles after exercising. It stimulates your muscles and helps them recover. Furthermore, it alleviates pain and promotes the release of compounds in your body that reduce inflammation. Lastly, it boosts blood flow, which has the same effect as light exercise mentioned in tip #1. So, relax and let a good masseuse work their magic!
You shall endure and come out even stronger!
Sore muscles do seem like a hindrance. However, they are nothing but a temporary inconvenience, one that you’ll easily endure if you get your advice from the right source. So use our tips on how to relieve sore muscles after exercising and, when the pain subsides, you’ll be ready to take on the world once again.