Anyone who has ever worked out knows that, if you do it absolutely correctly, you’re going to be a bit sore. A good workout has the after-effect of a dull, achy tightness in the muscles, a signal that your body is repairing itself and getting stronger. If you’ve been hitting the gym for a while, you might take satisfaction in being slightly sore, because it shows you got a good workout. If you’re new to working out, take heart, because it’s natural, and there are a variety of quick and simple ways to help deal with that soreness.
- Stretching – First and foremost, take five minutes after your workout for a cool down stretching session. Stretching before you work out is good, but stretching after your workout is much better for soreness. Even just taking a ten-count quick stretch for the major muscle groups and nothing else will help tremendously.
- Massage – If stretching doesn’t cover it well enough, take a few minutes and gently rub the sore muscles. Do not dig your fingers deeply into the muscle and do not rub too hard and fast. Gently, slowly working the muscle around the tight areas to increase blood-flow will help soothe much of the post-workout soreness. A good tool a lot of runners will use is a foam roller. They are amazing!
- Showering – Taking a shower after you sweat doesn’t just help you smell better. If, like me, you have a massage setting on your shower head, turn that on and give each sore muscle grouping a minute or two under the stream. Keep the temperature warm, to increase the blood flow in the area, without making it hot, which can increase the natural inflammation of those muscles.
- Ice/Heat Treatments – For the more stubborn muscle soreness, ice the area for 5 to 10 minutes. This lessens the pain part of the soreness and reduces inflammation. Follow that up with warming that area for 5 to 10 minutes to help the muscles relax and increase circulation, repeating as necessary. Combining this with massaging the area can be incredibly effective.
- Keep moving – We all work out when we can best fit it into our schedule. That said, those that work out earlier in the day have more time to move afterward, and they will feel considerably better the next day. Even if you can only perform your workout after work, taking a casual stroll after dinner and before going to sleep will help a great deal the next day.
Often people will take pain-killers as a quick method for dealing with muscle soreness. That, however, should be avoided as a casual practice. The biggest reason to avoid using over-the-counter pain-killers for something as minor as post-workout muscle soreness is because, the more you use them, the less effective they are when you need them for genuine pain. Save taking pain-killers for those times when you drastically overdo your workout and you’re experiencing more than just soreness.