If you’ve ever experienced a runners high, or experienced the euphoria that comes with an intense workout, then you know what comes next: soreness city. Even when you do everything right (stay hydrated, warm up and cool down, and perform each exercise correctly), you can’t seem to bypass the
Muscle Tissue, Blood Flow and Inflammation…
Often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, this post-exercise occurrence can happen between one to four days following your workout. It’s not possible to bypass it, simply because when you work your body and perform exercises that will strengthen and rebuild them, your body is going through a process of inflammation, blood flow and healing. So, your soreness is actually really important (even though it may hurt.)
You can expect to feel some soreness after waking up on the first day after your workout. This happens because you’re dealing with some inflammation. Your body actually releases a hormone called cytokines, which (in a nutshell) is nature’s way of healing those inflamed areas of your body. Your body is also sending hormones called prostaglandins, which direct increased blood flow to your body in order to heal potentially injury-prone ‘zones’.
When you endure a hardcore workout, you’re doing the work—that is, rebuilding your muscles in order to make them stronger, and fitter. If you’re doing it right, then as you bicep curl or lunge your way to fitness, you’re actually creating mini tears in your muscle fibers. By day two, you’re feeling the physical effects (soreness) of that hard work you did at the gym.
How to Ease the Pain
Even though you now know why the soreness occurs, it doesn’t always means it’s easier to handle. What might make it a little more manageable? First, know that if you’re experiencing soreness, that means you’re doing everything right to land the body of your dreams. Secondly, there are a few ways you can minimize the pain, and push through the soreness like a pro. Here’s how:
- Make sure to drink plenty of water following your workout, and for the next few days.
- Take an omega-3 supplement (or baked some fish for next few nights for dinner.) Fish oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and reduce overall soreness.
- Enjoy a bubble bath. End your day with a hot soak in the bath tub. Heat therapy is a great way to ease the soreness.
When all else fails—and the soreness is at an all-time high!—consider it to be a side effect of being a champion. After all, only those who meet their goals with such persistence (despite the pain) not only meet their goals, but bypass them with flying colors!