If you have sore muscles a day or two after a hard workout, don't panic, it's perfectly normal. It's even more likely if you're not that fit or a beginner.
If you have severe muscle pain, you may worry that you have injured yourself. Some people even consider giving up all forms of exercise because they are too afraid to keep going. However, sore muscles shouldn't be a source of discouragement. In fact, it should be taken as a good sign.
It is common to experience sore muscles between 24 and 72 hours after an intense workout, especially when increasing the length and intensity of your workout or when trying a new physical activity. It's just the way your body is telling you that your muscles need some time to recover. This condition is known as delayed muscle soreness (DOMs).
When you engage in hard physical activity, your muscles become stressed and sometimes you put strain on the tissues of your muscles beyond what they are used to. When this happens, it causes microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. These tears, along with the associated inflammation, make you feel pain in your muscles.
Over time, your muscles will heal and get stronger and perform better in the future. In the meantime, however, consider reading the following tips to help you relieve muscle pain after vigorous physical activity:
1. Always eat after an intense workout
Eating healthy meals within half an hour of your workout can relieve sore muscles by providing your muscles with the nutrients they need to heal and get stronger. It's important to get enough protein and carbohydrates after every session or a full-body workout. You should be consuming about 40 grams of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout.
The protein supplies your muscles with amino acids that speed up the recovery process. The carbohydrates, on the other hand, replenish the energy that you lost during exercise.
While it is important to eat protein after your workout, you shouldn't limit your protein intake to just minutes after your workout. You should make a habit of preventing your muscles from experiencing prolonged pain from strenuous exercise.
It is important that you prioritize your meals to relieve muscle pain. Eating anti-inflammatory foods will do you a lot of good. This can be watermelon, cherry juice, ginger, and pineapple.
2. Do light exercises
If you have pain in your muscles after a workout, you probably want to avoid all forms of exercise entirely due to the pain you feel every time. However, lying on the sofa all day is not a good idea as it will do you more harm than good. One of the tricks for getting muscle soreness relief is to engage in light physical activities like walking, swimming, or yoga.
While it is important to keep your muscles active, you should also avoid strenuous exercise to avoid damaging your muscles. The key is to keep doing light exercise to get blood flowing to your muscles so they can get the oxygen and nutrients they need to speed up the repair process.
3. Stay hydrated
It may seem obvious, but if you want to relieve the pain in your muscles, you need to drink enough water after your workout. Drinking more water before, during, and after your session will help you cope with sore muscles. Water flushes waste products out of the body, relieves inflammation, and delivers nutrients to your muscles so they can heal faster.
It can be difficult to tell whether or not you are hydrated, especially when you are not thirsty. That is why it is good to drink water regularly. You shouldn't wait until you're thirsty before hydrating, as thirst is a sign of dehydration. To maintain proper hydration, the color of your urine can be used to determine whether or not you are hydrated. Dark yellow urine is a sign of dehydration, but you know your body has enough water if the color of your urine is simply yellow.
4. It also helps to stretch some light
Another way to reduce tension in your muscles is to stretch after your workout. By stretching, you can increase your range of motion and reduce tension in your muscles. You should stretch for around 10 to 15 minutes after your workout. However, be careful not to overload your muscles while stretching as this can cause further damage.
The key is to focus on easy stretches that will ease the tension in your muscles, but not overdo them. You can try stretching from a static position.
5. Use ice or heat therapy
If you notice inflammation in your muscle area after exercising, it is a sign of muscle strain. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area to relieve the pain. Place the ice pack on the affected area for about 15 minutes. This will reduce the pain and make you feel better. Repeat the process at regular intervals.
You can try heat therapy if your muscles are still sore 48 hours after your workout but you don't notice any inflammation. Gently apply a warm heat pack in place, but be careful with the temperature to avoid burns.
6. Take time to rest and relax
After an intense workout, your muscles need some time to recover – that's why your muscles are sore in the first place. A day off after your workout is one of the ways to treat sore muscles. You can rest the day after an intense workout and do only mild exercises at home. You can then continue with your normal training plan the next day.
If you continue to do hard physical exercises even if you have soreness in your muscles, you may experience long-lasting pain because it does not have enough time to heal.
7. Get a massage
A gentle massage can also help relieve tension in your muscles, increase blood flow, and improve your mood. If you have muscle pain after a workout, your best bet is to try a light pressure massage. This will reduce the pain and make you feel better. You can also try a tender spot massage, which puts pressure directly on the affected area to relax the sore muscles.
It is normal to have muscle pain after a workout, especially if you increase the length and intensity of your workout, or if you try something new. However, this shouldn't be an obstacle to achieving your fitness goals. By following the simple tips above, you can reduce muscle soreness and achieve your training goals.