A good and intense workout will make you feel amazing, both physically and mentally. But as you come back home, take a shower and start to relax, another, not so pleasant workout consequence will start to creep in—the dreaded muscle soreness! Delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS can be are real (and literal) pain the neck, but if you know how to properly handle it, you’ll be back at the gym in no time!
Stretch for your life!
The best way to prepare your body for a workout is to do a long and thorough stretch routine! Perform some light, slow and dynamic stretches at the beginning and continue your routine with some static stretches. Swing your legs or try slow lunges for the best effect!
Warm-up those muscles
Once your muscles are stretched, it’s time for a warm-up! Many people rush to start their workout and go right for the weights without any preparation. This usually results in severe DOMS and even puts you at risk of getting seriously hurt! So, don’t skip some light cardio that will prepare your muscles for the exhaustion, even if you’re doing a weights-only session!
Exercise good form
Even if you stretch and warm-up, you’re still not in the clear! Bad posture during your workout can also cause annoying muscle soreness. So, pay attention to your posture and form while you run, jump or lift. You will not only feel pain-free after the session but also achieve better results!
Get a cooling bath
Ask any pro athlete what to do after an intense workout and they will all advise taking an ice bath! A 10-minute soak in ice will significantly reduce muscle soreness and boost muscle regeneration. Today, you can find spacious bathtub on the market that allows full-body immersion for the best and fastest pain relief. So, next time you get home from your workout, switch out the couch for a nice, cooling bath!
Heat up in the evening
A few hours after your icy bath, it’s time for some heat. Warmth will relieve muscle tightness that causes pain, stimulate your blood circulation and speed up the muscle regeneration process. So, get some heating pads or just wrap up in a warm blanket to get the heat flowing through your body.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It’s also very important to stay properly hydrated before, during and after your workout. Water will prevent cramps and inflammation that are the source of pain for most people and ensure you can continue with your workout safely and pain-free. There are many sports drinks on the market today, but water is still your best choice. It offers the best and fastest hydration and is completely calorie-free! However, if you’re having an especially intense workout or experience increased sweating, you might benefit from some added electrolytes and sodium. In that case, feel free to grab a sports drink with your water. However, make sure to check the label for the calorie content, so that you don’t end up taking in all the calories you just burned!
Munch on some good foods
Some food can also help you battle soreness and improve your muscle regeneration. For instance, pineapple is very rich in bromelain, an enzyme that has great anti-inflammatory effects, so feel free to munch on this tropical fruit after your workout. Tart cherries are also quite beneficial, but so are store-bought supplements that contain bromelain.
Indulge in a light massage
Aside from being quite relaxing and pleasurable, a light massage can also help prevent and relieve muscle soreness. Even though the sheer thought of touching sore muscles might make you feel pain, a gentle massage can really do wonders for your recovery. The best way to apply just the right pressure is to conduct a self-massage or get a massage stick or a foam roller. All of these will help you control pressure, relax and stretch out muscles and relieve some of the tension.
If you happen to be in a lot of pain from muscle inflammation, you might be tempted to stay in bed. However, this will not do you any good! Instead, try a light recovery workout like yoga, easy hike or a slow-paced bike ride!
These tried and true tips will surely help you prevent and relieve muscle soreness even after a really intense workout and allow you to achieve great results without any worry of pain and injury!