You’ve finally found the motivation to get back to the gym. You’re feeling great after your first session and wondering why you’d ever stopped. Flash forward two days and you’re suddenly struck down by delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
You may not see results just yet, but sore muscles equals instant progress. Keep your sights set on your goals or dream body as you draw on our five tips to get rid of sore muscles.
Anyone, regardless of fitness level, can experience muscles soreness after exercise, whether you’re starting a new exercise regime or increasing the intensity of an existing one. Each time muscles are placed under strain small tears appear in the muscle fibres (cue muscle soreness). Your body repairs by fusing the muscle fibres together to form thicker fibres, increasing muscle size.
Stretching before and after every workout can help improve flexibility and blood flow, preventing injury and the body’s ability to heal. When stretching, it’s important to focus on major muscle groups.
If your preference is to stretch prior to a workout – ensure it is dynamic stretching. Post-workout – don’t bounce as it can lead to injury, and hold each stretch for no less than 30 seconds.
Eating foods high in magnesium or taking a daily supplement has an array of health benefits, including improved sleep, flexibility and bone strength. More importantly, it can do wonders for your training recovery.
Magnesium reduces lactic acid, which is thought to be partly responsible for that dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It also helps the body to regulate muscle and nerve function by producing more Insulin-like Growth Factor – an important protein needed for the growth and strength of muscles.
3. Put your feet up
Resting between workouts is essential for the growth and recovery of muscles, and training everyday can potentially send you backwards. So if you think you’ll see results sooner if you hit the gym seven days a week, think again.
Muscles are built during rest, not at the gym. The Growth Hormone is at its highest when sleeping and getting less than seven hours a night means your body can’t recuperate and become stronger. Aim for at least 1-2 rest days a week and if you can’t tear yourself away from the gym for that long, try focusing on different muscle groups at each session.
4. Increase your protein intake
Eating the right foods and adequate amounts of protein goes hand-in-hand with getting enough rest, perfect to get rid of sore muscles.
Consuming healthy proteins like chicken, nuts, eggs or fish with in an hour of working out will fuel your body with amino acids – the building block to muscle growth and repair. Our muscles are made up of two types of protein and amino acids can be thought of as the glue that holds everything together.
Incorporating a serving of carbohydrate following your workout is also useful as it will also increase insulin levels and the body’s ability to absorb amino acids.
5. Foam rollers
Muscle soreness can last anywhere from three to five days, and foam rollers are a popular solution to reduce muscle recovery time and restore them back to normal function. The idea behind the oblong shaped roller is that it promotes self-myofascial release (SMR), or the release of tight muscles and knots through controlled, targeted pressure.
You should aim to use a foam roller both before and after exercise to stimulate blood flow, prepare the body pre-workout, and flush out any blood that has pooled in targeted areas.
If you experience extreme pain or find the pain lasting for an extended period of time, consult your GP or health care professional.