We’ve all had it and we all know it is a byproduct of working hard to get the body that you want, but how can we relieve the post workout DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)?
Well, you lucky blighters, I am about to share with you a few simple things you can do to help overcome those aches and carry on going to to loo without having to hold the towel rail! (yes, I’ve done it too🙄!)
STRETCHING – Myth or Fact?
It was once considered incredibly important to stretch, both before & after a workout to help ease muscles into the stresses of training and to prevent muscle soreness… however this has now been debunked! It’s BS!
DOMS is a result of damage caused to the muscle fibres during a workout, imagine a piece of wool… If you keep pulling and tugging it, the fibres will begin to fray, and this is what happens to our muscle fibres…. It’s not a bad thing so don’t freak out thinking you are ripping your muscle up, well we are, but the body will repair them thicker and stronger than before, and that is where muscle tone builds from.
The thing is, once the damage has been done to the fibres, no amount of stretching is putting you back together again that quickly, so muscle soreness develops. Its a bit like a scratch thats itching as it heals.
That’s not to say that no stretching at all isn’t required, as there are other reasons why we do it!!
Also, as a result of the muscles being worked, they may tighten up, so some light stretching between workouts may be more beneficial to easing those post Body Pump Quads!
If you are one of my Pilates or PT clients then chances are you have met my little roller friend, chances are even higher that you have sworn at me or it as you have worked over certain muscles.
Truth is the foam roller can help to ease your soreness as it acts like a form of massage, so helps to release tension and toxins. Increasing blood flow to the areas worked, increasing circulation and speeding up the muscles recovery process…. Plus it is great at improving your flexibility!
HOT & COLD
Possibly the least enjoyable of the options is heat & ice routines. You’ve likely seen the pro-athletes jump in an ice bath after a big event or match! Well this is the principle, although we are not pro-athletes and probably don’t have time or need to do this, so instead, get yourself an ice pack and hold it on the sore muscles for 15 minutes, follow this by 15 minutes of a heat pad. Go back to the cold and then the heat one more time. The alternation between the extremes is thought to improve circulation and speed up the healing process of sore muscles. But I suppose it depends on how sore you are and how much time you have to spare!
The best bit of advice I was ever given and probably the best bit of advice I have given in relation to DOMS is, KEEP ON MOVING! The last thing you want to do when you feel like you have done 10 rounds with Tyson is go and do another workout, but sitting still is only going to amplify the tension. So move a bit, start slow and then work up to more. Go for a nice walk but avoid straining your muscles too much… Just work enough to increase your blood flow a little.
As with most things to do with our bodies, being dehydrated only makes it worse. So make sure you drink plenty of fluids in the few days after a workout to help cease the system.Its also probably a good idea to avoid drinks that will act to dehydrate you, namely caffeine and alcohol.
TAKE A WARM BATH
A nice warming bath can help relieve some of the worst tension, and is great for muscle soreness. Not only is the temperature going to help relax the muscles, but improve circulation which allows nutrients & oxygen to feed the muscles. You can also add some epsom salts to a bath which is rumoured to be be great for sore muscles.
Eat a high protein meal following your workout to help increase the nutrients that are available for your muscles. After all muscle is protein, so feed it with something it can rebuild with rather than a danish pastry from the gyms cafe!
Finally, you should avoid taking pain killers! Don’t mask the pain, as this could lead you to move to quickly or with a bigger range of motion than the muscles wants to, causing an injury.
And there you have it… next time you complete a particularly gruelling workout, try one, two or even all of these methods and see if they help to relieve your soreness.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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