Posted on August 17 2018
Post-exercise endorphins have us all feeling accomplished and satisfied after a great workout. Frequently, though, you know that something else will follow the next day: muscle pain. The high from a great workout can't last forever, but worrying about feeling pain and discomfort can put a damper on your training. Sometimes, these muscle pains can't be avoided. Delayed-onset muscle soreness is very common following a strenuous fitness routine, as microscopic tears occur within the muscle tissue. This is actually the body's way to force you to recover, having you feel pain so that you do not over-train the area while it's healing. Taking care of the muscles after working out is a great practice to include in your fitness regimen, and it's often more straightforward than you think.
Use gentle yet dynamic stretches to provide those crunched up, sore muscles with some relief. Although you don't want to stretch anything to the point of excruciating pain, you certainly want to work the muscles and feel it. Reaching for the toes, lunges, plow pose (you're a yogi now!), and pulling the arms across the body are easy stretches that don't require much flexibility but work wonders for the legs, arms, and back.
Use Heat to Target Tight Muscles
Applying an ointment or heat pad to areas experiencing tightness provides almost immediate relief. Moist heat will relax you and improve your mobility, and is the most effective way to reduce muscle spasms and stiffness, increase blood flow, relieve muscle soreness, and relax your muscles. By relaxing and soothing the muscle fibers, any tightness or pain goes away, allowing them to heal and become more flexible.
If you're a fitness buff, chances are you know all about the importance of staying hydrated throughout your workout. However, hydration is equally important after you've finished your exercise. Intense sweating causes your body to shed water and electrolytes, both of which need to be replaced after the activity finishes. In addition to preventing cramping, staying properly hydrated decreases the inflammation that leads to muscle tightness and soreness after working out. While water is always the best option for the body, certain sports drinks have the added benefit of providing electrolytes and restoring the body's sodium levels to normal. Just be sure to check the amount of sugar listed, as sugar has dehydrating properties.
Use the Sore Muscles
Don't work them out strenuously the day after, but also avoid coddling your sore muscles. Use the same muscles in a non-resistant way, stretching and lengthening them. This also prevents the development of knots and cramps.