There are few things more satisfying than completing a challenging workout. Endorphin-rich, you feel on top of the world right after working out, but the day after? That’s not always the case thanks to muscle soreness.
While sore muscles aren’t dangerous, they can put a serious damper on your day, making even the simplest of tasks more difficult.
Whether your muscles are sore from your vigorous fitness routine or from another reason, there are lots of ways you can relieve some of the pain you’re feeling.
Why Do Muscles Get Sore?
We’re all familiar with sore muscles, but what exactly is happening inside of our bodies to cause muscle soreness? Put simply, muscle soreness is caused by microscopic tears within the muscle tissue. These tears occur during intense exercise activity.
Fitness-related muscle soreness is extremely common – so much so that it’s earned itself an official name – delayed-onset muscle soreness, also known as DOMS.
DOMS typically sets in a day or two following an intense workout and is a bittersweet reminder that you worked hard.
Interestingly, muscle soreness serves a biological purpose too. It’s essentially your body responding with pain so you don’t overdo it while your body is attempting to heal itself.
The 8 Best Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles
Some muscle soreness is inevitable, but there are ways you can relieve muscle soreness and help prevent it.
Stretching before and after your workout is one of the easiest ways you can prevent sore muscles or help ease sore muscles if you’ve got them.
Before your workout, try an extended warm-up and stretch routine. Take your time performing gentle dynamic stretches (these involve movement) before you move on to your workout routine. Dynamic stretches include things like swinging your arms and legs or doing gentle walking lunges. We recommend doing these between five and 10 minutes.
Once you’ve completed your workout, take another five to 10 minutes and follow up with static stretches (these are the ones you hold).
2. Do your cardio first
If weightlifting is part of your workout routine, it’s a good idea to incorporate at least some cardio activity beforehand.
Heading straight for the weight rack essentially overloads your muscles while they’re not adequately prepared. This not only increases your risk of having to deal with severe DOMS, but you could pull a tendon, ligament, or muscle during your workout.
Doing at least some sort of cardio first helps warm up your muscles efficiently, even if it’s just 10 minutes of walking.
3. Make sure your form is correct
Having good form when working out is so important. Not only does working out with poor form make for a less effective workout, but it can lead to an increased chance of muscle soreness and serious injury.
If you’re not sure whether or not your form is correct, there are lots of tutorials available online. If you go to a public gym, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help.
4. Brave the cold with an ice bath
If you’re experiencing muscle soreness, an ice bath can decrease irritation by about 20 percent. Ice baths provide temporary pain relief by reducing inflammation. Read our blog to learn how to properly take an ice bath at home.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
When it comes to relieving sore muscles or preventing them in the first place, water is your best friend.
Hydration prevents cramping and decreases inflammation which keeps muscle soreness at bay. Be sure to drink enough water during the day and during your workout – especially if you sweat a lot.
6. Wear compression gear
Compression gear can help stave off muscle soreness by improving circulation and blood flow. Compression sleeves for example can reduce the amount of impact on your muscles, leading to less soreness once your workout is done.
7. Use a foam roller
Foam rolling can help decrease muscle soreness following a workout, as well as loosen up tight muscles. These simple pieces of equipment also give you a better range of motion than stretching alone can.
8. Get a sports massage
Massages aren’t just a relaxing treat, they can actually provide serious pre and post-workout benefits. A sports massage will help loosen tight muscles and reduce soreness, allowing for faster recovery times.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you’re an athlete, you need a medical team that thoroughly understands sports medicine. If you’ve been feeling pain and discomfort beyond usual soreness, let us help you get back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.