5 Super-Fast Ways to Ease After-Workout Soreness
We’ve all experienced the endorphin-fueled high that comes with a great workout, but the after-effects can be quite painful, literally. New or intense workouts can result in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). According to the American College of Sports Medicine, muscle “soreness develops as a result of microscopic damage to muscle fibers.” DOMS pain is typically the strongest 24-72 hours after the activity. No wonder it’s hard to climb stairs the next day! If your mantra has been “No pain, no gain,” those days are about to be over when you use these 5 super-fast ways to ease after-workout soreness.
1. Don’t Skip the Cool Down
Giving your body adequate time to cool down after a strenuous activity can help reduce your muscle soreness. Any low-intensity exercise will work – the key is to keep your body moving and blood flowing to your muscles. Keep it simple. At the end of a run, continue with a brisk walk around the neighborhood, a quick swim, alternating walking lunges, or even strike a few yoga poses.
Better yet, hop on your bike as participants in a 2012 study experienced reductions in muscle soreness when following workouts with 20 minutes of moderate cycling.
2. Stay Hydrated
We all know how essential drinking water is for our overall health, but consuming adequate amounts of this life-giving elixir is important for muscle recovery as well. According to the Harvard Medical School, drinking plenty of water will carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells, normalize blood pressure, stabilize the heartbeat, cushion your joints, and maintain your electrolyte balance.
Staying hydrated also reduces muscle cramps and will flush out lactic acid from your body. Lactic acid can build up in the muscle during exercise leading to painfully sore muscles afterward. Always hydrate both before and after an intense exercise.
3. Use a Foam Roller
If you’ve never used a foam roller, you’re missing out! Foam rollers employ a technique called self-myofascial release (SMR) to massage and relieve tension in affected muscles. Studies show that rolling your muscles with a foam roller alleviates muscle fatigue, soreness, and can even improve muscular performance in the future.
This technique works especially well on your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Don’t have a foam roller yet? Don’t worry, a regular old rolling pin from the kitchen works, too. Just be sure to begin with light pressure and build up to a level that is comfortable.
4. Eat Soreness Away
Eat a recovery snack rich in antioxidants. This is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to ease after-workout soreness! Skip the sugary sports drinks and focus on healthy, whole foods that taste great and make you feel better. Foods which are high in antioxidants contain anti-inflammatory compounds which ease muscle soreness and speed up your recovery time. Tart cherry juice, berries, pomegranates, spinach, avocados, and tree nuts are all an excellent source of antioxidants. Of course, our favorite antioxidant-rich food will always be dark chocolate!
5. Post-Workout Massage
Nothing feels better on tired, sore muscles than a massage. That’s because massage both reduces cytokines (which produce inflammation in the body) and flushes out muscle-soreness-causing lactic acid from the body. However, it’s not always easy to coordinate a trip to the spa or schedule an appointment with a massage therapist immediately following workouts. That’s not a problem when you own a Hot Spring® spa!
Soaking in a hot tub increases blood flow and soothes sore muscles using hydromassage. Several studies have also discovered that regular hot tub users experienced improved range of motion, greater flexibility, and decreased use of pain relievers due to the heat, buoyancy, and massage experienced during hydrotherapy.
When you’re ready to experience all the health benefits of owning a hot tub, we carry a wide variety of spas from HotSpring and Freeflow® to meet all budgets. Regular soaks will ease after-workout soreness and will have you feeling better than ever! Download a brochure or schedule a free test soak today.