How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness After a Workout
Experiencing muscle soreness after a strenuous workout or a tough hill run is normal. Your muscles can also feel soreness if they are exposed to a new physical activity.
There are a couple of natural ways to relieve sore muscles, as well as preventing and minimizing muscle soreness.
What's the Cause of Muscle Soreness?
Sometimes your muscles can feel sore a day or two after your workout. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a normal occurrence and includes symptoms of soreness, weakness, and tenderness.
The first time that you train, there's going to be small tears in the muscle fibers. Your body is not used to it and it has to recover from it.
Sometimes the soreness is more intense during the second day. For example, if you worked out on Monday, then you could feel more intense soreness on Wednesday.
Some theories state that it is caused by the breakdown of muscle fibers, releasing lactic acid that attracts inflammatory cells. These inflammatory cells release chemicals that touches nerve fibers causing pain.
1. Epsom Salt Bath
Soak your affected muscles in a warm bath mixed with Epsom salt. The compound in Epsom salt, called magnesium sulfate, plays an important role in relieving muscle soreness, as well as stress. Epsom salt helps to restore your body’s magnesium and sulfate by absorbing it through your skin.
- Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt depending on your bathtub size
- The water should be warm, not hot! Hot water will strip away your skin's protective oil
- Make sure Epsom salt is completely dissolved
- Soak for for about 15-20 minutes.
Note: According to the Epsom Salt Council, Epsom salt baths are not recommended for people with heart problems, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Consult your physician if you have any questions.
2. Stay Active
This second method of minimizing muscle soreness may be the last thing that you would consider doing. After my volleyball tournaments, my body is in so much pain that I just want to lay still for a couple of days. Every muscle hurts with movement. However, in order to minimize the soreness you should move around.
By gently doing light exercises, you are increasing blood flow to the muscles. This will help increase rate of recovery. You're going to get more oxygen, blood flow, and nutrients to the muscles that are damaged, which flushes out lactic acid. It helps speed up the recovery process.
So ideally, take a light walk around the block or do some light chores around the house.
3. Drink Water and Recovery Sports Drinks
If your muscles are sore from lifting weights, it is caused by small tears from your muscles being stretched out. Drink a lot of water to flush out the lactic acid.
Pineapples contain an enzyme called Bromelain, which helps reduce pain and inflammation in joints. Bromelain is also good for muscle soreness.
Daily consumption of antioxidants can limit soreness of muscles. Vitamins C and E are very effective antioxidant defenders against damage to muscle tissues. vitamin C is found in fruits such as oranges, berries, and melon. Vitamin E can be found in leafy green vegetables and whole grains.
I recommend that you blend up a healthy recovery sports drink that includes leafy vegetables and fruits.
While you likely will still experience muscle soreness while eating these foods, the pain should be less noticeable. Muscle soreness is inevitable, but if you follow these tips it can be minimized and recovery time can be faster.
Make sure you are stretching properly after workouts to minimize muscle soreness. Contrary to popular beliefs, you don't have to stretch prior to a workout. However, warming up your muscle is important.
- When stretching, hold it for 15-20 seconds.
- Do not bounce or move around too much.
- Do not overextend and stretch too far.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.