Post Workout Soreness – How to Reduce Muscle Pain After Your Workout
Post workout soreness can be an unpleasant side effect of a vigorous workout session. Sometimes, after hitting the gym, maybe not until the next morning, you may experience some degree of muscle pain. It can range from mildly annoying to almost debilitating. You might find it more difficult to get up and get going than it was the day before. You could find yourself aching from the inside out and wondering if something is really wrong; if you might have strained something or over-stretched a muscle. Fortunately, the reality is probably not that serious. What is more likely is that you're experiencing classic post workout soreness. Everyone, from amateurs to the most seasoned of fitness enthusiasts and professionals, gets sore from working out every once in a while. But, short of taking a long soak in a hot tub, what can you do to alleviate those aching muscles? We've put together a couple of tips that may offer some sweet relief.
Drink the Pain Away!
Depending on your tastes, this may not be as much fun as it sounds. We're not talking about alcohol. This one’s a bit wacky, but cherries have an antioxidant which reduces inflammation. That’s why people with gout are often encouraged to eat cherries. A 2010 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Sciences in Sports found that incorporating cherry juice into your recovery drink may help to ease post workout soreness. On a similar note, coffee can also be beneficial. Studies have shown that drinking coffee prior to a workout reduces muscle soreness and fatigue by nearly half. The recommended amount is two cups of coffee prior to a workout. Coffee will also boost your energy and endurance, so it’s a win-win!
Ice if Off
While a hot bath may feel very good at the moment and will provide some temporary relief for your post workout soreness, giving muscles the cold treatment is more likely to produce lasting results. Icing prevents further muscle damage and speeds up healing. Soothe your muscles by putting some crushed ice in a waterproof bag, wrapped in a towel. Or use something like IcyHot or a cold pack. Remember to never put a cold ice pack directly on your skin. This can cause damage akin to frostbite.
Massage it Away
Massage increases blood flow to sore muscles and speeds up the removal of inflammatory chemicals which produce post workout soreness. Massage above and below the painful area and work your way into the sore part of the muscle. You can use a self-message device or, if one is not available, an object such as a tennis ball works great. And a foam roller will work miracles.
Good Old Reliable Tylenol
We're not here to plug anyone's particular product so, in truth, any brand of acetominophen will work equally well on your post workout soreness. Acetominophens are best for curbing sore muscle pain while not preventing muscles from repairing themselves. Skip ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which, though they might provide temporary relief, halt your body’s production of prostaglandins which help muscles heal.
Workout Soreness – Final Thoughts
Post workout soreness is sort of "the cost of doing business" if you exercise. Of course, the soreness will be less frequent and less painful if you set a regular routine and stick to it. Working out more often will get your muscles accustomed to the stretching and straining. Infrequent physical activity is not only more likely to cause post workout soreness, but can even result in more serious injury. Workout often and when you do experience soreness and discomfort afterward, try the tips above to help get you through it so you can workout again another day.
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