Ten Ways to Ease Muscle Soreness!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I am no doctor or scientist, but I can tell you what works best for me for alleviating pain the day after a kick-a$$ workout leaves me tender to the touch. I will do one or any combination of the below items when I'm feeling the burn the next day. There is a fine line between soreness and injury though to beware of.

1. Stretch well after an intense workout. I did Jillian's No More Trouble Zones last night and found that the cool-down was kind of lacking. Hence, I am darn sore today and feel like tomorrow will be even worse. It's always important to stretch all the major muscle groups for at least 30 seconds each.

2. Massage. I had a massage therapist once who said she was removing the lactic acid from my muscles. The next day, I had that internal feeling like I should be sore, but felt no pain. That was amazing to me!

3. Keep Moving. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, it's important to be active in the days following a tough workout. Even when I've worked my butt so hard it hurts to sit, I find it's best to get up and around the next day up to every half-hour or so. A low-intensity walk or even a gentle yoga workout seems to have a repairing effect. Muscles need a chance to heal to be sure, but they also do best with extra circulation and stretching.

4. Keep stretching. I'm always sure to continue stretching the day after, especially since I'm desk-bound most days. My favorite thing to do is stretch while also rubbing the tender areas--a little massage/stretch treat.

5. Drink lots of water. Dehydration only makes the soreness feel worse to me. I've also heard--and don't know if it's true--that water helps move the lactic acid through the body and lubricate joints. With all the benefits of water, it can't hurt to try.

6. Hot or cold pack: Heat increases blood flow to the area while cold reduces inflammation. Both feel nice.

7. OTC relief. WebMD talks about using anti-inflammatory medication. While I abhor popping a pill if I don't have to, with some of the workouts I've done, I probably could have used a little medicated relief.

8. Epsom salt bath: word on this street is that Epsom salts decrease inflammation and draw out toxins, making a wonderful addition to the bathwater. The warm bathwater itself increases circulation, bringing much-needed oxygen to tissues in the process of healing. I usually feel better after a bath anyway.

9. Visualize. Soreness is Mother Nature's way of letting you feel exactly how hard you've worked. It is evidence that your body is building muscle, so visualize it doing so. You'll begin to bask in the glow of a productive workout! In order to progress, there has to be some soreness.

10. Get enough food and sleep. I always feel like I need to sleep longer after an intense workout and it makes sense. Sleep is restorative and I need an extra dose of it to indeed restore. I also find I'm quite hungry the day following sweat sessions. I have to be careful to eat healthfully and feed my body the nutrients it needs to repair.

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