Muscle soreness after intense workout sessions is very common but shouldn’t discourage anyone. Keep in mind that Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is a rather natural occurrence, actually indicating progress. Before you pop up some addictive painkillers or lean on steroids to numb the pain, consider these helpful tips and home remedies to get you up and about just in time for your next workout session.
Understanding the natural process to begin recovery
You just pumped that sweaty boost of extra effort! Understand that the soreness that follows is an indication that your muscles are growing. As muscles undergo stretching, their microfibers break down causing inflammation. As a result, you get that nasty pain the next day. The inflammation repairs itself over time, eventually extending the strengthened muscles. So start your recovery by allowing sufficient relaxation between successive sessions.
Ice packs or warm baths?
If you exercise regularly, it is often recommended to use ice packs after training. Ice slows down the blood flow, and thus reduces inflammation. It has also been mentioned in several studies how olympic athletes experience less post-workout soreness after taking a cool bath. Nevertheless, heat, which increases the blood flow, helps to flush out the byproducts created by training. So you can also try immersing yourself in hot water. The choice is essentially a personal matter. Try both, and pick the one that works for you. Take the time and trust your instincts. Some professional trainers suggest applying an ice pack over the inflamed areas and then taking a hot bath to relax the body.
Relax the body, stimulate the mind
Free yourself from all the tension with a nice massage. Consider aromatherapy oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, cypress, sandalwood, rosemary, ginger, juniper, or lemongrass. They have proven benefits. They reduce pain and inflammation wonderfully. Some will produce a cooling sensation while others warm you up. Choose what works best for you!
Always be careful
If you experience discomfort or pain on your workout session, especially during a particular exercise, it should serve as a red flag. That’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Before you further harm yourself, seek advice from a professional trainer or instructor.
Working out correctly can significantly minimize soreness. For example, you shouldn’t jump into heavy training without adequate warm-up. Take time to motivate yourself physically and mentally before doing the heavy lifting, literally. While training, follow recommended breathing techniques. Whenever there’s a conflict between the rhythm of physical activity and the natural pattern of breathing, stress accumulates in the muscles. Inhale when your muscles are in a rhythm of contraction. Exhale when your body is in the expansion mode.
Even some professional athletes tend to neglect proper breathing. If you’re into aerobic training, such as jogging outside or running on a treadmill, focus on deep belly breathing and avoid shallow chest breathing.
Breathing correctly will minimize soreness and make your workout more effective.
Water is life’s matter and matrix
Drink plenty of water! It is necessary to remain sufficiently hydrated. Energy drinks are trendy alternatives, but they have added chemicals and preservatives, which are unhealthy based on most recent studies.
Add sufficient protein to your daily diet. Protein builds blocks of muscles and keeps them strong enough to handle the stress of weightlifting. That said, don’t forget about healthy carbohydrate resources, as these are necessary for both muscle buildup and escalating levels of energy.
On this note, it’s high time to break the myth about animal protein. Vegan bodybuilding champions Billy Simmonds and Denise Nicole prove beyond doubt that plant-based proteins can deliver remarkable results. Besides, veganism is considered ethical and eco-friendly.
There are no shortcuts to success
Just as warming up is important before a workout, stretching when you’re done is necessary to reduce muscle fatigue. It allows your muscles to recover better and faster. It’s also a wonderful way to extend your range of motion and improve flexibility.
Take it slow, don’t overdo yourself, drink a lot of water, and find the best stretches for your workout. You’ll maintain a healthy, regular training schedule with less breaks in between sessions.