Don’t let aches and pains deter you from upping your fitness game—there’s nothing quite as satisfying as pushing yourself through a tough workout. Instead, you want to listen to what your body is telling you. A good remedy for sore muscles can be found before, during, and long after a workout to reduce soreness, accelerate recovery, and keep you feeling your strongest.
One of the primary factors in the cause of muscle soreness is the excess lactic acid produced during high-intensity training sessions. According to BodyBuilder.com, “Lactic acid interferes with actomysosin formation (the complex when the actin and myosin bond) and Glycolytic enzyme activity, which results in fatigue.” After many weeks of working your muscles, your body gets accustomed to lactic acid build up and soreness lessens, but achiness often accompanies the start of a new routine, so it’s best to be prepared to treat the problem.
A personal trainer can help you create a workout plan to alternate the muscle groups you work each day (giving each area some well-needed time off) and will guide you in establishing the proper timeline for increasing intensity of any given workout. Stretching, icing, and regular massages can also help you prevent and reduce soreness, but if you’re experiencing sharp pain or prolonged discomfort, consult with your doctor to make sure you haven’t sustained an injury. Try these natural remedies for sore muscles so you can keep up your great work!
Stretching before a workout helps to loosen up your limbs, prepare them for a workout, and prevent sore muscles. I find that a bit of light yoga is the perfect way to prepare my body and mind for a safe and satisfying workout. When stretching prior to a workout, it’s best to start slow and ease into each move until you feel a light stretch. Pushing it too hard too early can result in pulled muscles and other injuries.
While it’s best to stretch out your whole body, be sure to prioritize the muscle group you’ll focus on during your fitness routine. If you’re running or working out your legs, stretch your quadriceps with a standing stretch or loosen up your thighs with a butterfly stretch. On arm workout days, the crossover arm stretch will prepare your deltoids, and a triceps stretch focuses not only on its namesake but also on your shoulder and lat muscles as well. For muscles that are difficult to stretch, a foam roller is a great tool.
So you forgot to stretch and now you’re really feeling that post-workout soreness. One of the fastest and most effective ways to reduce muscle pain is by hopping into an ice bath. Cold potentially reduces muscle pain, especially in the hours and days after a tough workout.
If the idea of jumping into a tub full of ice water doesn’t appeal to you, try applying an ice pack to your specific sore muscles. This is an easy way to reduce lower back pain after a long, hilly run during marathon or half-marathon training. Follow the “10 minutes on, 10 minutes off” rule to ensure you don’t accidentally cause skin irritation or frostbite from prolonged contact with the cold.
Massages loosen up muscles, encourage blood flow, and ease swelling, all of which help to reduce post-workout soreness. A professional masseuse can work stiff muscles right after a workout to help prevent aches and pains, but I also enjoy booking a deep tissue massage a few days after a tough training session to revitalize my muscles and reward myself for a job well done.
You don’t need to break the bank to get a massage. Ask a friend, spouse, or family member to work your shoulders or try using a massage tool to give your calves or thighs a deep tissue massage.
Muscle soreness feels like a necessary evil when it comes to upping your workout game, but the best way to reduce—and even prevent—muscle pain is by keeping up with a regular fitness routine. Your body will become stronger, and you’ll become more motivated to keep going.
Do you have a go-to remedy for sore muscles? Let us know with a #GoodMatters tweet or hit us up on Facebook.
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