It does feel very validating when your muscles feel sore after working out. For some, there’s even a sense of pride when glutes hurt after a tough session of squats and lunges. After all, we all know the old adage – no pain, no gain. As much as it’s normal to feel muscle soreness after a workout, it’s still a bit annoying if not often quite painful and even debilitating. This is just our bodies telling us that we took it a bit too far and that it’s time to ease off.
To help your body recover after an intense workout and sore muscles, it’s necessary to know what causes the state in the first place and then focus on finding relief. Here are some ways you can prevent and treat muscle soreness after a workout.
Understanding muscle soreness
According to experts, the delayed onset of muscle soreness is a consequence of the tiny tears in the muscle fibres that happen during exercise and it’s these micro-tears that are the cause of pain and inflammation and these can be detected with Biofeedback Home Devices. The pain typically develops between 12 and 24 hours post-workout, peaking around 24 to 72 hours after training. This exact process occurs in building muscle—when the muscle fibres recover after these micro tears, they build up and become stronger.
However, post-workout muscle soreness doesn’t necessarily mean better or quicker muscle/strength-building results. Actually, muscles that are too sore after a workout can be counterproductive as you may decide to miss out on a few workouts due to the pain and discomfort.
Strength exercises typically include eccentric (the lengthening of muscles) and concentric (the shortening of muscles) types of exercises, and it’s the eccentric ones that usually lead to muscle pain. That’s when the micro-tears happen since you’re working them the hardest at that moment.
Preventing muscle soreness post-workout
Since working out too much and all at once causes muscle soreness, it’s wise to ease into exercises, particularly if they’re something new and if you’re a beginner. Progress and consistency are what counts in the long run, so go slowly and add exercises and weight gradually. Start at the beginner level and do shorter sessions instead of throwing yourself all in.
As a part of prevention, you can use a foam roller after the workout. It can help reduce the intensity of muscle soreness as it offers a self-myofascial release. In the following days, your perception of muscle soreness will be reduced and this is mostly due to improved blood flow and oxygenation in your muscles facilitated by the massage.
Another way to go about this is to use a handheld muscle massager and treat sore areas directly. With six different speeds, it will provide quick and precise relief by improving blood flow in the sore area and decreasing built-up lactic acid. This will result in lesser muscle stiffness, soreness and fatigue. Incorporating muscle massage into your post-workout will allow you to relieve pain and stress, prevent injuries and recover faster.
Relieving the onset of muscle soreness
If you do experience the onset of muscle soreness, there are lots of different ways you can relieve the pain. For an acute injury and the swelling of the area, you can use an ice pack for about 15 minutes. If the area is just sore but there’s no swelling, treat it with a heat pack for 15 minutes to enhance the blood flow. Also, getting a sports massage at this point can help you relax the tightness in the muscles and soothe the pain, as well as a warm bath.
Stretching your muscles 10 minutes after your workout should become an integral part of your routine as well as warming up before your start exercising. When muscle soreness does happen, you shouldn’t stop working out entirely. Do some lighter exercises such as walking, cycling or swimming. Muscle pain simply means your muscles were stretched and are now getting stronger, so engaging them in a lighter activity will help the elimination of the build-up of the lactic acid.
Moreover, your sore muscles will benefit greatly from getting enough sleep and from proper nutrition. It’s advisable you eat lots of protein and antioxidants in the next 24 hours. They will refuel your muscles and aid your recovery.
Hopefully, you’ll find a way to relieve your muscle pain but if you do experience sharp pain during your workout, or the soreness persists after a couple of days, which might be a sign of injury so it’s best you see a health care professional.