If you’re just starting to exercise, or if you’re incorporating new exercises into your workout routine, you might experience muscle soreness. This achy pain occurs when you stress your muscles more than what they’re normally used to. Often the pain is most noticeable after 24 to 48 hours. Over time, when your body adjusts and gets used to the exercises that you’re doing, muscle soreness is less likely to occur. Even trainers and gym rats like me still fall victim to sore muscles. Luckily I have some handy tips to ease those uncomfortable times.
Giving yourself enough rest between workouts can prevent soreness. When you exercise, microscopic tears occur in your muscles. Giving these tears enough time to heal will only result in stronger muscles. Take at least one day off in between your strength-training workouts. If you want to exercise on consecutive days, work different muscles on different days. This way you can’t work the same muscle twice and won’t continue to stress it.
When a muscle is sore, you might feel as if you’ve been hit by a brick. Sometimes even simple everyday tasks, such as walking, become difficult. To ease some of the pain and to regain some of your flexibility, perform some light stretches. Warm-up before doing the stretches with some light cardio. For instance, walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes. Then gently start stretching, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds. By doing this, you promote blood flow to your sore muscles, which delivers oxygen and nutrients, that have a healing effect.
Massage and Medication
For times when the pain is overwhelming, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories might offer some temporary relieve. You might find that applying heat to the sore muscle and lightly massaging it also offers some comfort. Depending on the severity, the pain should subside within about three days. If the pain doesn’t go away or seems to worsen, consult a doctor, because a more serious condition might be to blame for your discomfort.
Take It Easy
Taking on more than you can chew is guaranteed to make you sore the next day. Instead of sprinting on the treadmill, start out slowly, especially if you’re new to exercise and your body isn’t used to the extra strain. Whether you perform cardio or strength training, slowly increase the intensity of your routine. Start with low-intense cardio and lightweight resistance. Once you master proper form and are used to the motions, increase the intensity or resistance a little bit. This will slowly condition your muscles and prevent soreness.