We have all had it – that awful feeling of sore muscles a day or two after a tough workout, when we cannot seem to even put on a pair of socks or, God Forbid, shoes, or any other simpler task.
Even though we cannot avoid muscle soreness, we can, however, try to diminish it and help you get back on your feet much faster than you thought. But first, if we want to know how treat this condition, we will have to find out what causes it. So keep reading and find out any necessary information about muscle soreness, how it occurs and how to deal with it.
Why do I feel pain after exercising?
If your muscles are sore after physical activity, occurring usually after you have started a new exercise programme or changed your routine, this condition is called the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Muscle fibres can get microscopic damage when they are required to do much more than they are used to, or in an unusual manner that they did not face so far, which thus results in stiffness or soreness. Even though some people think that DOMS is caused by lactic acid build up, this is not true, because this acid has nothing to do with the process.
How can I help?
Timing is the key, so if you want to reduce the inflammation, you should first speed up the circulation of your blood. Here is what you should do.
- Stretch – After you cool down from exercising, you should focus on larger muscle groups. You should stretch and foam roll after cooling down in order to break the adhesions down and help increase blood flow in your muscles.
- Ice bath – When you exercise, especially after hard ones, your muscles swell and the best way to help them calm down is to have an ice bath. Many professional athletes do it – they submerge their lower half of the body (some do it with their entire bodies) into ice-cold baths after heavy workout regime. This chases the blood away and diminishes the inflammation, which has practically the same effect like when you hurt yourself and put some ice on it to cool down and avoid swelling. In order not to catch a cold, you can swim or dip into a cold bath for about 10 to 15 minutes after your workout. It is going to be tough at first, but you will acclimate soon.
- Contrast showers – If you are still not ready for an ice-cold bath, you can do the similar thing, but in a more pleasant way. You can benefit from cold water even if you play with warm and cold showers. It is this simple: turn lukewarm water for a minute or two, and then switch to cold. You can be shocked at first, so you can turn back to warm water, but try to bear it and give yourself a cold shower for at least two minutes. After this, you can switch back and forth for a couple of times more and flush lactic acid out of your system and recover faster.
- Lemon towel – Another thing you can do to help your body is by using natural fruit. You can try with lemons, which are a natural anti-inflammatory way of dealing with sores. You can dip a towel in a mixture of lemon and honey and apply it to sore areas. The mixture you are going to need is this: you will need 2 to 3 tablespoons of honey and a juice of 4 lemons. Mix them in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds before you dip your towel into the mixture.
- Nutrition – You can also try to change your nutrition, and take for example KC protein bars before or after workout. A research has shown that ginger can reduce muscle soreness and improve the range of motion, next to other great benefits such as packing more muscle. So, take ginger supplements on a daily basis and see how great they are.
And finally, if you have figured out some other things that can help you cool your muscles down after hard exercise please do not hesitate and share them with us in the comments section below. We would love to hear what you have to say!