Muscle pain and soreness can strike anyone, but most especially those who are physically active. If you feel pain in your muscles after a strenuous workout, the soreness and pain can last for a few days. When you exercise, this can cause microscopic tears in the tissues of your muscles, which can result in DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness (yes, there is a technical term for it). Muscle soreness is often felt as stiffness and an inability to move limbs or joints properly, and it may even be accompanied by swelling and a certain amount of tenderness in the muscles. Here’s how you can effectively ease pain and soreness in your muscles.
Do some stretching
Once you finish your workout routine, you should do a bit of stretching. When you exercise, your muscles contract and the fibres in your muscles become shorter. But if you lengthen them – stretch them out – after an intensive workout, your body becomes more mobile, which then leads to a faster recovery.
When you eat, your body will be able to get the nutrients, protein, and carbohydrates it needs in order to maintain and repair your muscles. Of course, it’s best to eat healthy and nutritious food, such as vegetables and fruits, but lean red meat, fish, or chicken are essential as well.
Also, remember that sore muscles are muscles that are inflamed, so it’s important to curb the inflammation. Consume foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and this includes salmon, avocado, walnuts, and flax seeds. Foods such as these have natural properties that help fight inflammation.
Get some heat
Heat can enhance your body’s circulation, particularly the heat coming from a hot bath or a whirlpool bath. But if you’re planning to soak in a hot bath or whirlpool bath right after your workout, think again – the heat can make the inflammation worse, and the jets from the whirlpool bath can be too painful for your already sore muscles. Wait for an hour or two before going into the bath.
After an intense workout, the last thing you probably want to do is move. But some experts agree that being active is also a good way to recover more quickly from muscle pain and soreness. It doesn’t mean, however, that you have to go through another strenuous exercise routine – you can do certain activities such as yoga, or simply take a walk or a hike. There is a term for this kind of recovery – it’s referred to as ‘active recovery’ and it’s highly recommended. Make sure, however, not to strain yourself too much – the point is simply to stretch out your muscles and keep them moving so you can recover faster, not feel worse.
Of course, if you feel that your muscle pain and soreness is getting worse or it seems to be something else, it wouldn’t hurt to visit a GP. And nowadays, you don’t even have to go to a clinic – you can consult experienced GPs powered by Babylon, where an appointment is entirely possible in as little as two hours.