For those new to strenuous exercise, post workout soreness can be a serious problem. Severely aching muscles and the inability to stand up from a chair or climb a flight of stairs might give you enough reason to just give-up on your workout routine. One of the keys to a good workout is doing everything you can to reduce soreness when you are finished. While a little bit of aching is an indicator that your muscles are adapting to your new lifestyle, but to avoid those instances of severe pain, try these 7 tips to reduce soreness after a workout:
1. Dynamic Warm-Up
Rather than stretching cold muscles before a workout, try using a dynamic warm-up to help avoid injury and reduce soreness post workout. Some dynamic warm-up exercises include:
- Jogging: A light jog before your workout is a good way to get your blood pumping before a workout. Start off slowly and steadily increase speed to prepare your body for a strenuous workout.
- Neck roll: Having the feeling that you've just been rear-ended in your car is one of the worst types of soreness after a workout. Try slowly rolling your neck clockwise and counter-clockwise before a workout to reduce this type of soreness.
- Arm hugs: Sore arms got you down? Try giving yourself a hug by extending then wrapping your arms in and out. Start slow and steadily increase speed to get your arms loose and limber to reduce soreness.
- Knee highs: Jog in place, raising your knees as high as you can. Again, start of slow and steadily increase speed to get yourself loose.
These dynamic warm-up exercises are great for reducing soreness after a workout rather than just stretching cold muscles. You can then proceed to stretching after you've warmed up first.
2. Epsom Salt Baths
An Epsom salt bath is a great way to relieve the aches and pains of sore muscles after a hard workout. Since Epsom salt is comprised of magnesium sulfate, and by bathing with it, you are allowing your body to absorb vital nutrients for better function. An Epsom salt bath can also alleviate stress reducing tension and loosening tight muscles that are sore after a workout.
By massaging the affected areas, you can potentially minimize all of the muscle soreness you feel after a hard workout. A proper massage can help relax muscles that are too tight and alleviate pressure in certain areas. While there is no direct evidence that proves massages to be beneficial for soreness relief, one cannot argue that a relaxing message after a workout feels better on the muscles than having no massage at all.
4. Stretch After Your Workout
Stretching after a workout can be a good way to keep your muscles from getting too tight, which can help reduce the how sore you feel the next day. You can also perform stretching exercises before your workout, but make sure you at least warm-up first so that you aren't stretching cold muscles, which can lead to injury.
5. Using Ice Packs
An ice pack over a sore area works well for reducing soreness after a workout because of its numbing capabilities. Often times, you will see athletes, like basketball players, icing their knees after a game. Ice is effective for constricting the blood flowing to the particular area of pain, which is what makes it so effective for injuries like sprained ankles. Ice packs work very well for fast relief from muscle soreness.
6. Heat Packs After a Workout
Using a heat pack over sore muscles is another great method of pain relief. Heat packs can help reduce pain and stiffness in a particular area. You can apply a heat pack to sore muscles after using an ice pack. The ice pack can provide instant pain relief, and application of a heat pack afterwards can help with flexibility and restore range of motion. This will help for muscle soreness that prevents you from using your full range of motion.
In cases where muscle soreness after a workout is so severe, a person might want to opt for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for temporary relief. An NSAID work well for counteracting pain signals sent to the brain. Be sure to consult a physician before using NSAID for relieving sore muscles due to potential, harmful side effects.
While these tips can be used to reduce muscle soreness after a workout, it is also important to remember that muscle aches and pain is a natural part of working out, and an indicator that your muscles are growing and updating. Use these tips to alleviate soreness that is abnormally severe or unbearable. You should also consider lightening your workout load depending on the severity of pain you are experiencing post workout. Gradually increase your workout intensity to help reduce muscle soreness.