In the days following a strenuous workout, sore muscles and joints are common in men and women. The pain can last for as long as one week, but usually lasts only a few days. The soreness is the result of torn muscle fibers that become stiff once the body is inactive after a workout. Muscle soreness, while unpleasant, is a natural body response and a good indication that your last workout was effective. The after-effect of muscle soreness happens to athletes and beginners, and there are a number of ways to combat the problem, so your next workout isn’t a painful experience.
A deep massage is one of the best ways to treat stiff, overworked muscles, and stress in the body. A massage also enhances the body’s immunity. If you’re unable to get a free massage from a willing friend, or significant other, visit a professional massage therapist. A massage session usually isn’t cheap, but it’s well worth the investment if your muscles are constantly sore after exercising. Another option is to buy a foam roller and give yourself a rolling massage on the floor. A foam roller is capable of massaging the calves, hamstrings, quads, and back.
Most people stretch before a workout, but not after. Stretching right after an intense workout helps prevent, or at least reduce, irritating muscle pain the morning after your workout. Stretching sends pleasure signals to the brain that helps alleviate pain. Spend at least ten minutes stretching your arms and legs before and after running, or lifting weights. To stretch your legs, sit on the ground, with your legs straight out in front of you and touch the tips of your toes. Repeat this several times before and after running.
Both hot and cold temperatures help relieve pain in the body, but heat is best for post-workout muscle pain. Ice helps reduce inflammation from injured, swollen muscles, but ice shouldn’t be used to treat general soreness from a workout because it causes stiffness. Heat increases blood flow and improves muscle flexibility, which stops the soreness. Spend thirty minutes in a relaxing hot tub, or gym sauna. If you suffer from frequent muscle pain, you might consider heat therapy. Another quick, temporary solution, are over-the-counter, topical heat rub products, such as IcyHot. These products provide instant pain relief that lasts for hours.
Food and Vitamins
Certain foods and vitamins play an important role in preventing post-workout soreness. If you’re eating a lot of junk food, your body isn’t getting the vital nutrients it needs for the healing of torn muscle tissue. Your body needs Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids to prevent prolonged body pain. Start eating vitamin-rich foods, or buy supplements. The best foods that contain high levels of Vitamin C are chili peppers, guavas, bell peppers, kale and broccoli. If those foods aren’t appealing then oranges, kiwi and strawberries also contain plenty of Vitamin C. For Vitamin D, eat cottage cheese. To get your Omega-3s, eat lots of fish.