I do not subscribe to the ‘No Pain-No Gain’ theory that we all hear beating in our hearts during any serious workout. However, there are times when we just can’t escape sore muscles and we need a remedy that works after a workout.
Remedies for Sore Muscles After Workout
Below you’ll discover some of the 5 best ways I know to prevent muscle soreness after exercise.
1. Ice Paks
Immediately after a hard workout I really love relaxing in a tub of hot water, and that feels good for the moment.
That’s great for short term relief, but icing muscles is much better for the long run.
Like we talked about earlier, working out causes small tears and damage to muscle fibers and they become inflamed as a result.
Icing the damaged and sore areas dulls the pain caused by inflammation and helps with swelling.
Ice paks work better than heat because ice prevents any further muscle damage.
2. Stretching Sore Muscles
Stretching after a run or workout of any sort should be part of your regular routine. Stretching can help you avoid a lot of problems commonly linked to working out, so don’t skip it.
Working out always shortens your muscles, and that definitely causes pain short and long term.
Using a good stretching routine post workouts helps to elongate them.
Stretching will help with mobility, soreness, and even faster recovery time.
3. Anti-inflammatory Medicines
If you’re don’t experience any bad effects from simple over the counter pain relievers try something like Tylenol or aspirin for pain relief.
Anti-inflammatory medicines will give you immediate relief from sore, tired and achy muscles.
However, prolonged use has many side effects including affecting your liver, stomach, and the ability for your muscles to continue repairing themselves.
All medicine comes with risk, so consider these as a last resort.
4. Get A Massage
Massages not only feel great, but they tend to increase the blood flow to muscles. This, in turn, helps with removing the chemicals that are causing inflammation and soreness.
Pay someone for a deep tissue massage or use any sports ball for a self-massage.
In fact, you can use tennis balls, volleyballs, basketballs — just choose the size ball that’s appropriate for your sore muscles.
The Body Back Buddy is my favorite, and I wouldn’t want to live without it. If you don’t have one you probably need one!
Google trigger points and learn how to make the most effective use of this great tool for sore muscles.
Balls and trigger point tools are really great for isolating the problem muscles to eliminate the pain.
5. Foam Rollers
Foam rolling is one of the best ways to relieve pain and soreness either before or after a workout. They dissipate lactose deposits, release knots and tension, stretch out the fascia tissue, and increase blood circulation.
Foam rollers increase circulation and work out soreness by massaging trigger points deep in the muscle tissue
Foam rollers are a must-have tool for recovery from exercise and workouts. These things are pretty amazing when you need pain relief from any physical activity that stresses muscles. They do what a massage does, only better, and a lot less expensive. There’s some debate about whether foam rollers work best before or after a workout, but I use mine both times.
Sore Muscles May Not Be Inevitable — But They Are Normal
That means that whether your workout consists of running, weights, stretching, exercising at home, or in a gym: the magic happens after they’ve broken down and started rebuilding.
So let’s be honest, sometimes your muscles are going to be sore or achy, or burning.
Best Pre-Workout Remedies to Avoid Sore Muscles
Face it: it’s better to avoid sore muscles than to try to get over them, right?
These are simple and basic tips for avoiding sore muscles that are known to produce positive results, no matter what types of exercise you use.
1. Stay Hydrated
Keeping your body fully hydrated is one of the top methods for reducing your chances of sore muscles from exercise. Up to 60% of your body is water.
I like to tell people to take a look at house plants that are suffering from lack of water.
That’s what your own cells look like when they aren’t hydrated: dry and shriveled up!
Anytime you are working out or exercising you lose a lot of water, even if you don’t notice it.
The key is to drink plenty of water before working out, during, and after to keep from dehydrating.
Dehydration is probably the largest contributor to muscle soreness related to exercise.
2. Warm-Up and Cool Down for Workouts
Most of us have a vague knowledge that warming up before a workout and cooling down afterward might be good, but is it really that important?
Warming up and cooling down properly really is important when doing strenuous exercise. Both of these activities are known to decrease the risk of injuries to knees, muscles, and bones.
There have been studies that indicate that not taking the time to stretch muscles out before starting your exercise routine will actually aggravate muscle soreness.
Gentle stretching exercises before and after are great remedies for sore muscles.
3. Nutrition is Key to How You Recover From Exercise
The fact is that what you’re eating is massive when it comes to how you feel and recover after exercising. Living on junk food is never going to be conducive to proper muscle recovery.
Even though you should always stay keenly focused on your diet, what you eat the day prior to your workout is key. Try to eat a diet made up of 40% protein, 20% fats, and about 40% carbs on the day before for the most productive workouts.
On the day you exercise shoot for a diet high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Here are some great recovery foods to eat right after your workouts.
4. Give Your Body A Chance to Rest
One of the best ways I know to avoid the natural soreness from exercising on a regular basis is rest.
When I start seeing results from any exercise program, whether its weights, running, or using resistance tubes, it’s easy for me to get overzealous.
When I do, I forget my body and specific muscle groups need rest and time to repair.
My advice is to you is with resistance training especially, focus on different muscle groups each session, and don’t workout 7 days a week.
Your body will surprise you with less soreness and injuries.
Does Lactose Acid Cause Sore Muscles?
As it turns out there’s another natural cause of sore muscles from vigorous exercise during workouts of any type. It’s the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.
- Lactic acid creates a burning sensation in my own muscles.
- Lactic acid is just a byproduct of metabolism going on in the muscles and seems to affect some people more than others.
- Lactic acidosis is the result of intense exercise and not really getting enough oxygen to break down glucose you need for energy.
The only remedy I know for this is not going from a complete couch potato to an Olympic star in the first week.
If you think you’re dealing with Lactic acid burn, slow down. Work yourself up gradually to increase your body tolerance of exercise.
Onset Muscle Soreness After Workouts
Symptoms from Lactic acid buildup are usually more during or immediately after a workout.
However, there is something called DOMS and it is the most frequent problem.
This is delayed onset muscle soreness and can do anything from making it hard to walk, steal your strength, or just keep you sore for a couple of days.
Post-workout soreness will usually peak out between 24 and 48 hours after you’ve damaged muscles during a workout.
Because you’ve actually made these minute muscle tears that it takes to build muscle, your immune system is now on the job. And that means that proteins and white blood cells are now accumulating and that causes a degree of inflammation.
DOMS is the main culprit and I’ve listed both pre-workout and post-workout remedies that I use myself.
It’s a paradox that you’ll first need to break down your muscles to make them stronger. Sometimes you’ll just feel refreshed, sometimes you’ll be sore and aching afterward.
That’s just the way exercise workouts go!
However, I believe the real remedy is pre-workout consciousness.
Taking care of yourself before and during a workout is much easier than looking for remedies for sore muscles.