That awful task of managing sore muscles after a workout can last for days. It seems impossible to move, and your body may be aching tremendously.
Even though we cannot avoid muscle soreness, we can however try to diminish it and try to get back on our feet after a hard workout. Its important to consider the causes of muscle soreness in order to treat it.
Why do I feel pain after exercising?
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the term referencing sore muscles after a workout that is new to ones exercise routine. Muscle fibers can get microscopic damage when they are required to do much more than they are used to, or in an unusual manner that they did not face so far, which thus results in stiffness or soreness. Even though some people think that DOMS is caused by lactic acid build up, this is not true, because this acid has nothing to do with the process.
How can I help?
Timing is the key, so if you want to reduce the inflammation, you should first speed up the circulation of your blood. Here is what you should do.
After you cool down from exercising, you should focus on larger muscle groups. You should stretch and foam roll after cooling down in order to break the adhesions down and help increase blood flow in your muscles.
Ice bath –
When you exercise, especially after strenuous activities, your muscles swell and the best way to help them calm down is to have an ice bath. Many professional athletes do it – they submerge their lower half of the body (some do it with their entire bodies) into ice-cold baths after heavy workout regime. This chases the blood away and diminishes the inflammation, which has practically the same effect like when you hurt yourself and put some ice on it to cool down and avoid swelling. In order not to catch a cold, you can swim or dip into a cold bath for about 10 to 15 minutes after your workout. It is going to be tough at first, but you will acclimate soon.
Contrast showers –
If you are still not ready for an ice-cold bath, there is a more pleasant option. You can benefit from cold water even if you play with warm and cold showers. It is this simple: turn lukewarm water for a minute or two, and then switch to cold. You might be shocked at first, but try to endure it and give yourself a cold shower for at least two minutes. After, you can switch back and forth to flush lactic acid out of your system and recover faster.
Lemon towel –
Another thing you can do to help your body is by using natural fruit. You can try with lemons, which is a natural anti-inflammatory way of managing sore muscles after a workout. Dip a towel in a mixture of lemon and honey and apply it to sore areas. You will need 2 to 3 tablespoons of honey and a juice of 4 lemons to prepare. Mix them in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds before you dip your towel into the mixture.
You can also try to change your nutrition, and take for example KC protein bars before or after workout. Research has shown that ginger can reduce muscle soreness and improve the range of motion. Make sure to consume ginger supplements on a daily basis and reap the benefits.
Have you figured out other ways that can help you cool your sore muscles after a workout? We would love to hear what you have to say!