Have you ever had a workout that was so bad (yet so good) that you couldn’t move that muscle for an entire week afterwards?
Have you ever let the anger or the music take control of you and attempt a PR (personal record) that was 50 pounds heavier than your previous?
Or a drop set that was actually until failure and not just up to 15 reps?
If so, then you’ve experienced what’s called Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). A process your body undergoes to repair torn muscle tissue…a process, that hurts.
This process usually peaks 48-72 hours after the workout and for those of us who have a job or school or a family, this can be really problematic. Most of us can’t afford taking a cab to school instead of walking or show up to work limping in front of our bosses.
So in honor of those who juggle a healthy lifestyle and a career/family, here are 3 Tips That’ll Help Reduce Muscle Soreness Post-Workout:
There are two types of stretching you should be familiar with: dynamic and static.
Dynamic stretching involves quickly moving through the positions while static stretching involves holding a position.
Although stretching before the workout hasn’t been linked to a decrease in performance, as shown in recent study published in the Medicine and Science Journal in Sports and Exercise. There’s greater benefit when stretching is saved post workout.
In his article, Do I Need To Stretch After Workouts, Jeremy DuVall explains that holding each stretch for 25-30 seconds after the workout will help reset your body to a natural position and posture, which in turn will lessen the ensuing pain.
If however you find that you’re a little tight in one area before the workout, definitely incorporate dynamic stretches as these will help warm up the muscle and increase your body temperature for the upcoming exercises.
Bottom line is, if you don’t want to walk around at work like your 90 year old grandpa the next day, start stretching!
Eat These Foods!
I like this ritual the most because you might already be consuming foods that help reduce the muscle soreness, you just don’t know it.
What you want to look for in these foods are antioxidants and fatty acids that help fight the inflammation caused by your body to repair the muscle tissues.
If you’re wondering, here’s why inflammation occurs. When your immune system senses something is wrong – like a twisted ankle, for example – it expands the blood vessels leading to the injury. The body then sends in inflammatory cytokines and white blood cells to rebuild and repair injured muscles.
It’s not surprise then that foods with anti-inflammatory antioxidants will help the most:
- Cottage Cheese – lots of live culture (good bacteria)
- Salmon – Inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids
- Nuts and Seeds – Filled with protein, electrolytes and zinc to boost immunity
- Turmeric – I told you it was a superfood!
Eating these post workout will not only lessen the pain in the next couple of days but will also speed up your recovery.
Don’t Stop Moving!
This is the probably the most common mistake made post-workout.
We tend to think, “I need to let the muscle rest and therefore I shouldn’t use it” but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
In fact, we need to keep the muscle warm and full of blood because blood is crucial for recovery! Our blood vessels are what transport the essential nutrients and white blood cells needed for repair.
Now I’m not saying to go for another PR (personal record) the day after, but definitely don’t stay inside and sleep the entire day.
Go for a walk or do some light stretching to keep that muscle active and full of blood for a swift and proper recovery.
From a bodybuilding perspective, this is why you should design a training program that allows you to go 5 days a week but doesn’t pair two muscle groups that indirectly target one another (for example, chest and back).
Squeezing your back muscles requires you to stretch your chest.
Recovery is just as much of an art as training is.
Perfecting a system that allows for the swiftest yet most effective recovery for your body will allow you to train more often and see changes sooner.
Always remember, loving your life is so much easier when you love your body.