There's nothing quite like the feeling of an intense workout - whether it's a sense of accomplishment, or the mental exhilaration of knowing you've met a challenge while doing something good for your body. Muscle soreness can be part of the equation, too.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the soreness you may feel 12-48 hours after a workout. It can make it uncomfortable to perform day-to-day tasks, but the good news is that there plenty of ways to relieve it, such as those listed here:
1. Apply Heat
Applying heat to sore muscles reduces pain by increasing blood flow to the area. This helps heal the small muscle tears that lead to DOMS while ultimately relieving pain. You can apply heat in a variety of ways, from a hot tub, steam room, sauna, or just soaking in your tub at home.
2. Apply Ice
Many elite athletes swear by a post-workout ice bath because the cool temperatures constrict blood vessels - which reduces swelling. If sitting in shocking cold temperatures sounds daunting, then use ice to treat to specific muscles and areas.
3. Apply Heat And Ice
Since heat and ice both help in soothing sore muscles, why not combine them? One method is to apply an ice pack for 15 minutes, followed by a heat pack for 15, and then repeating the process until you feel relief. It's an effective way to promote better blood flow and muscle recovery.
4. Gentle Stretching
Muscles tend to tighten up when they're in the recovery mode, which can intensify feelings of soreness. Slow, gentle stretching will relieve the tightness and reduce pain.
5. Light Cardio
If stretching isn't enough to relieve soreness/tightness, light cardio the day after a hard workout can improve circulation and warm up your body. The important thing is to move, slowly and gently, and that can even mean walking around the house or your neighborhood.
6. Pack In Protein
Your muscles are depleted and need nourishment after an intense bout of exertion. And one thing they crave is protein, so give them what they want via natural sources such as fish, poultry, lean meats, lentils, and more.
7. Rub It Away
Not that you need an excuse to have a professional massage, but getting one is a great way to relieve pain and tension. If you can't see a professional, do it yourself with a foam roller or tennis ball.
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