I have seen the motivational memes saying “Sore today, strong tomorrow” and I appreciate their inspirational value but most of the time, I am just looking for a solution to my aches and pains! All too often I roll out of bed and feel the full force of yesterday’s workout. Stairs are a nightmare, reaching your arms above your head is near impossible and let’s not forget trying to sit on a toilet seat, ouch!
So I have done the research (and it was hard because my arms hurt) to bring you 10 key recovery tricks to get you moving again.
Dehydration can exacerbate muscle soreness, so staying hydrated is key. Water also helps flush toxins from the body. Aim for 250ml for every 15 minutes of exercise.
Heavy resistance training increases the rates of both protein synthesis and muscle breakdown for at least a 24-hour period afterwards and is one of the reasons why you might feel sore the next day. Protein repairs and builds muscles after exercise. For the most effective results consume protein 30 minutes after exercising.
Foam Rolling can relax sore muscles and relieve tightness, read Foam rolling: A self-myofascial release (SMR) technique for the full story.
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom Salts are not actually salt but Magnesium Sulphate found in areas of England. Dissolved in the bath, and absorbed through the skin, Epsom is amazing for easing muscle soreness by relaxing the muscles and flushing lactic acid build up. The warm water in the bath will also aid blood circulation which means more oxygenated and nutrient rich blood.
When we exercise we contract our muscles effectively shortening them. By stretching we return our muscles to our natural position and lessen that ‘tight’ feeling we get which can sometimes be painful.
The goal for active recovery is to get the blood pumping through those sore and tired muscles, the goal is not to slug out another full blown workout. Activities such as brisk walking, swimming or a low intensity workout are great to get the blood moving to shorten the duration of DOMS.
Applying heat to the stiff area will block pain receptors and increase muscle elasticity, meaning the tension of the resting muscle can be reduced. Again this technique promotes blood flow and bringing nutrients to the area.
While an ice bath may be a daunting thought, when exercising intensely it may just save you from the dreaded DOMS. The cold will constrict your blood vessels and flush out lactic acid, reduce swelling and reduce tissue breakdown.
A massage whether it be professional or self induced, can help with reducing muscle tightness and increasing blood flow. Increasing blood flow will reduce the duration of DOMS.
If all else fails just complain. It will just make you feel better. Just grunt and groan when you sit down and tell people about how sore you are.
Do you have any other solutions to reducing the soreness and duration of DOMS? Share your thoughts with us on facebook.