Some people call it "feeling the burn," but others say "ouch." Post-workout muscle soreness can mean a couple of different things. It can be a good sign of a successful workout, or it can mean you may have injured yourself inadvertently. Here's how to distinguish a good "ouch" from a bad "ouch" and how to treat sore muscles after a trip to the gym.
When you experience good muscle soreness, there is a reason behind it. When you exercise, you create minor trauma in your muscles, and as the muscle rebuilds, it comes back stronger than ever. This is what helps tone and build up your muscles. It's also normal for you to feel very sore after you haven't exercised for a long time, or you've worked muscles you haven't worked in a few days. You may feel an ache all over, or in a specific area you've worked, such as your arms and legs. As long as the soreness is equally distributed over that area, this is a normal sign of working out and shouldn't be a concern.
Sometimes, a sore muscle may be an indicator that you’ve damaged a muscle. A good indicator of this is that one particular area hurts. For instance, if you worked out both legs equally, but only one hurts, you probably injured a muscle. Also, if you are so sore that it impedes your day or makes you want to skip working out, you could have a muscle injury. A healthy soreness should only last up to 48 hours and you should still be able to work out around it.
Sore Muscle Treatment
To treat sore muscles after a workout, take some acetaminophen to combat inflammation. Use a foam roller to massage the tender area and relax the muscles. You can also apply an ice pack to the injured or sore muscle area to reduce swelling and pain. To avoid sore muscles in the future, get on a regular regimen of fish oil supplements. This helps boost your circulation and also reduces pain and inflammation.
When you exercise, stay hydrated and make sure to stretch before and after your workout. Make sure to go into your workout slowly to ensure your body is ready to move. Going into a workout cold can increase the chance of muscle injury.
Looking for an exercise partner and coach that will keep you motivated and excited about working out? Talk to Ralph Roberts, a professional personal trainer. He can custom design the perfect exercise plan that's right for you and get you moving.
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