Screaming muscles, burning lungs and sweat-drenched activewear. All signs of a pretty good workout, right?
When you’re pushing your body to its limits, it can lead to some unpleasant experiences. But it’s all worth it for that sense of achievement you get from challenging yourself and stepping out of your comfort zone.
A common experience for those new to exercise, or for anyone after a particularly gruelling workout, is having sore muscles, or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
WHAT IS DELAYED ONSET MUSCLE SORENESS?
Delayed onset muscle soreness generally occurs after strenuous or irregular exercise, and it can be best described as a dull muscle ache, combined with muscle stiffness and muscle tenderness.
If you’ve tried to walk up a set of stairs after a big leg day, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about!
DOMS is caused by microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. Your body will respond to these tears by increasing inflammation to help repair the muscles.
While this may sound a little scary, it’s completely natural. It’s how our body builds muscle; by repairing damaged muscle fibres in order to strengthen them.
HOW TO RELIEVE SORE MUSCLES AFTER WORKOUTS
We can’t avoid sore muscles entirely, but there are ways to help ease the aches and pains associated with DOMS, and in some cases, speed up the recovery process.
Here’s how to relieve sore muscles after workouts:
Keep moving. The last thing you should do is sink into the couch and put your feet up (as tempting as it sounds). Remaining still and not moving can actually prolong your recovery time.
Instead, consider a walk outside or on the treadmill or a light ride on the exercise bike. This will ensure your body is recovering (and you’re getting in extra exercise).
Light stretching. As well as keeping your body moving, you’re also going to want to do some light stretching to help activate your sore muscles. It’s a great way to relieve that ‘tight’ muscle feeling while increasing your range of motion.
Stretch slowly for 10-15 minutes. Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds and try to not to push yourself too hard as this could cause further injury.
Hydrate! Hydration is key. Be sure you’re constantly maintaining your fluids when you’re in the recovery phase.
We recommend consuming a minimum of 3L of water per day . Remember, these are only guidelines – the best rule of thumb is to listen to your body.
HOW TO REDUCE SORE MUSCLES
Foam roll. Foam rolling immediately after a workout is a great way to minimise potential muscle soreness. By doing this, you’re essentially giving yourself a deep tissue massage, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself!
If you want to learn more, check out our beginner’s guide to foam rolling.
Warm up. Dynamic stretching before you begin your workout is a great way to ensure your body is ready to move, and aids quicker recovery.
5 to 10 minutes of full-body stretching followed by a light run or cycle is a perfect way to get your body prepared for the intense workout to come.
Cool down. When you’re all done and dusted, you’re going to want to cool down. A low-intensity walk or cycle session followed by some thorough static stretching can help to minimise muscle soreness and get you back in the gym sooner.
So, there you have it. Some reliable methods to get rid of sore muscles and keep you smashing your fitness goals.
If you need support at any time or have questions, don’t be afraid to ask any of our friendly staff or personal trainers. And if you’re not a member of Anytime Fitness, you can try us for free. Let’s work together to make healthy happen.