If only exercise were as fun and easy as looking up delicious recipes for a paleo diet or finding fun ways to organize the home. Finding and cooking a killer paleo recipe certainly doesn’t end with screaming muscles the following day.
It turns out that after a heavy workout, muscle soreness is a good thing, despite the temper tantrums our nerves are having.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) occurs when a strenuous workout forms tiny tears in the muscles’ fibers. As a result, the muscles heal, becoming more prominent and more robust and increasing the body’s overall fitness in the long run.
The best way to guarantee DOMS and muscle growth is to increase the length, intensity, and frequency of a workout. It is especially useful when trying a new activity that may strain new muscle groups that aren’t used as often as others.
DOMS tends to kick in 12 to 24 hours after such a workout, and the pain or discomfort often doesn’t go away for a few days.
Here are a few tips on how to kick those sore muscle blues!
Don’t Stop Moving
As strenuous as it will be, light exercise the day after a rough workout will reduce muscle soreness. Though your muscles will be upset with you initially, they will thank you in the long run.
Low impact activities like cycling, swimming, or only taking a walk are just a few activities one can do to ease the pain.
Take a Rest Day
Taking a day of rest the day after your light workout is another crucial way to recover sore muscles, allowing the body to repair itself. It also aids the body in restoring energy for that next heavy workout.
Get a Massage
Whether enlisting a loved one or taking the matter into a professional’s hands, a good massage can boost blood flow, increase the body’s range of motion, and, most importantly, relieve muscle pain.
Steer clear of the deep tissue massage in this case, though. Something gentle such as a Swedish massage or tender-point acupressure, are ideal when dealing with sore muscles.
Apply Heat to Problem Area
Heat stimulates the flow of blood to muscles, which can ease tightness. A nice warm bath, heated compress, or plain old warm towel can relax even the crankiest muscles.
However, do not apply excessive heat, as putting too much heat on the muscles can aggravate and inflame the area even more.
Take an Anti-Inflammatory
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are ideal over-the-counter medications that will reduce swelling and relieve any nagging pain.
So Be Sure to Remember
DOMS may make the post-workout day to day much more irritating, but it is essential to acknowledge that it is a necessary evil that will improve physical fitness in the long run.
So next time you’re massaging your screaming muscles after lifting weights or after an incredibly intense cardio session, remember to thank the human body for being the beautiful, complex machine that it is.