It’s a great thing that people are becoming aware of the fact that physical activity and clean eating are an important part of a healthy and balanced life. But with good physical activity, there is something that comes uninvited – it is called muscle soreness.
It’s a myth that sore muscles are a sign that your workout was great and you are moving in the right direction. Sore muscles actually mean either you have pushed yourself too hard or you are doing something you haven’t done before.
DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) can make you feel the burning sensation while your muscles are building and recovering but the discomfort can be drastically reduced if you follow the right steps.
Here are eight easy steps to be followed to avoid muscle soreness.
What exactly are sore muscles?
In order to avoid and deal with sore muscles, first we need to know what are sore muscles and why do we get it. Rigorous exercise can lead to micro-tears in your muscle tissue, which leads to DOMS later. It takes 12-14 hours after a tough workout to develop sore muscles and it can linger on for up to two to three days.
DOMS may lead to swelling, stiffness and problem in moving the affected joints.
When you work out, your muscles contract and the muscle fibre gets shorter. Lengthening them by stretching post workout can improve mobility and recovery.
There is a link between dehydration and muscle soreness, say experts. Though more research on the topic is supposed to be done, dehydration surely increases soreness.
When muscles break down, they release toxins and waste products that need to go out of the body. Enough water intake can help do that.
Use a foam roll
Sore muscles can be massaged with foam roller after a workout session. This can help reduce DOMS, says the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. Roll five times on each major muscle and spend extra time on the sore ones.
Massage the sore spots thoroughly
Don’t just limit the foam rolling process to post-workout sessions. You can do it even in between the workout sessions. This can help you increase your mobility.
You can even do the foam rolling on the day you are not training, say scientists from the University of Oregon.
Make sure your body gets enough carbs, protein and fats in order to repair and recover itself. Protein is the most important nutrient you need for muscle recovery so make sure you are having enough of it.
Take a hot water bath
Heat increases blood circulation, which can act as a powerful tool for recovery. Do not take a hot water bath right after a workout as this may cause muscle inflammation and lead to more muscle soreness.
Wait for an hour before you get into the Jacuzzi after a rigorous workout session.
Consume fatty acids
Sore muscles also mean inflammation. Consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation. Salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, avocados and meat are some omega-3 rich foods.
When every muscle of your body hurts, moving is the last thing you would want to do. But that is exactly what you need to do in order to recover speedily.
Right after an intense workout, putting ice on your muscles can keep away the inflammation. Inflammation is like a natural defense mechanism but it immobilizes you. Less inflammation means more movement and as we have mentioned above, movement promotes healing. Do not use ice for too long.