So, you’ve had a great workout but you’re feeling a bit sore? Don’t let muscle aches relegate you to the sidelines. Soothe the aches with a little self-care. Keep your exercise goals going with these remedies.
Do it with diet
Turns out the old adage is still true – you are what you eat. Try adding some tart cherry juice to your post-workout smoothie to reduce muscle soreness. Tart cherry juice is loaded with antioxidants, so it benefits your body in more ways than one. The supplement creatine can also help. Creatine, an amino acid, has been shown to lessen muscle pain and boost energy in muscle cells.
Keep it moving
Take time to do some gentle stretching, walking or even yoga after your workout. Moving your body keeps the oxygen flowing to your muscles, thus reducing stiffness and speeding recovery.
Go for the thrill of the chill
You may be tempted to reach for the heating pad or jump in a hot shower – don’t. Instead, plunge into an ice bath (or slide in gingerly) or apply an ice pack. Ice supports muscle recovery and reduces damage. If you go for the ice bath, wear lightweight shorts and a t-shirt. However, you use ice, do an on and off method; i.e. up to 15 minutes on before getting out or taking it off. Never apply plain ice directly to the skin.
Give sore muscles the rub
Use a muscle relief cream such as Arnica or Tiger Balm. Foam rollers can also be helpful. A kind of self-myofascial release or self-massage, foam rolling works to stretch and strengthen muscles while also reducing soreness, knots and tightness. Need a little extra care? You might also treat yourself to a deep tissue massage.
Drink plenty of water before and after your workout to flush out toxins which may aggravate muscle soreness.
Time does heal all wounds. Recovery is an important part of every fitness plan. So, schedule regular rest days and get a good night’s sleep. Aim for at least 7 hours most nights…even if you have to skip the late show.
Don’t let sore muscles stop you from reaching your fitness goals. They are a normal, and manageable, part of exercise. Practice a little self-care, plan for rest days and keep it moving. How sore is too sore? If each movement takes you beyond discomfort to screaming pain (standing, walking or climbing the stairs feels nearly impossible) – take the day off.