How to Make Sore Muscles Feel Good : Maxener Wellness

Part 1 Treating Muscles During a Workout

Warm up and ease into your workout. For your muscles to be limber and avoid injury during intense exercise, you must ease into your routine which gives them time to become warm and pliable. Avoid jumping right into a heavy or intense workout routine.

  • Start with light exercises and gradually increase the intensity. For example, if you are weightlifting, don’t start with your heavy weights: begin with easy repetitions of light hand weights before you begin intense bench presses.

Stretch properly. Stretching at the start and end of your workout will also help to get the lactic acid out of your muscles. Waiting hours after a strenuous workout before stretching is not the best. Stretch soon after activity that may cause soreness to prevent becoming stiff.

  • Be sure that you stretch after warming up, as your muscles will be more limber and less likely to become injured by stretching. Check out this helpful wikiHow articlefor advice on how to stretch properly to increase flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration at the start of an exercise routine or sport is dangerous not only because it can cause you to become light-headed and faint, but also because it can lead to muscle soreness afterwards. Proper hydration during intense physical exercise increases oxygen to your muscles, which gives your muscles more stamina and also aids in their recovery as you work out.

  • Try not to load up on water directly before you exercise, which can cause bloating and cramping. Instead, stay well-hydrated all the time, but especially in the 24 to 48 hours leading up to an intense workout.
  • The rule of thumb for drinking water is to drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces, or about 3% of your body weight, of water per day. So, if you weigh 128 lbs, you should consume 64 fluid ounces (8 cups) of water per day. If you weigh 100 kg, you should consume 3 litres of water per day.
  • Be sure to stay well hydrated during your exercise routine: a good rule of thumb is to drink one cup (8 oz, 250 ml) of water for every 15 minutes of intense exercise.

Part 2 Soothing Muscles After a Workout

Ice up. Ice-cold water immediately after an intense muscle workout has been shown to reduce muscle soreness more than any other single treatment. It reduces muscle inflammation and prevents much of the soreness from lingering in your muscles.  If you are a professional or college athlete or workout at an elite gym, you might have an ice bath there that you can utilise to help reduce muscle soreness. If not, try these strategies instead:

  • Jump into a cold shower or bath. The colder, the better: professional athletes use ice water, but if you can’t stand it, just use cold tap water with no hot water added. It won’t work as well as ice water, but it will be better than warm or lukewarm water.
  • If you’re an athlete, consider investing in a five-gallon bucket. For soreness of the arms (like from baseball practice), a five-gallon bucket filled with ice water will allow you to ice the whole arm at one time. This method will also work for feet.
  • When icing a muscle or muscle group (rather than your whole body), make sure wrap an ice pack in some sort of buffer before applying the ice. This will keep the extreme cold from injuring your skin. Try putting crushed ice in a plastic bag, then wrapping it in a tea towel or washcloth before applying to the affected muscles.
  • Use plastic wrap to secure ice to limbs or the body. If you need to be moving around (cooking, cleaning, etc.) while using ice, plastic wrap can help secure ice onto a muscle while you move.
  • Ice your muscles for 10 – 20 minutes.

Heat up. While the first step should always be ice, a few hours later it’s a good idea to apply heat to the affected muscles to help stimulate blood flow to your muscles and help them to remain limber instead of tight. Apply heat for about 20 minutes.

  • Take a hot shower or bath. The water will relax your muscles as you soak.
  • Adding Epsom salts to your bathwater is an effective home remedy for sore muscles. Epsom salts are made of magnesium, which is absorbed into the skin and works as a natural muscle relaxant. Add two to four heaped tablespoons to a full bathtub and stir a little to dissolve. Enjoy your bath. You should feel some relief immediately after you finish your bath.
  • For stiff neck, take uncooked rice and fill a tube sock and tie off the end. Microwave for 1.5 minutes and use as a heat wrap. It is reusable.
  • For isolated sore muscles, you can apply peel-and-stick heating pads directly to the skin and wear them under your clothes for hours. These can be purchased at most pharmacies.

Keep moving. While it’s tempting to completely relax your muscles as you recover, studies show that light activity that uses your sore muscles can reduce the length of time that you’re sore. It’s important to give your muscles time to recover, though, so be sure that you don’t overdo it.

  • Exercise helps muscle soreness by increasing blood flow to the affected muscles, which helps them to eliminate waste more quickly and keep muscles from becoming stiff.
  • Consider the intensity level of the workout that made you sore, and then do a lighter version of that activity the next day (similar to the intensity of a warm-up). For example, if running five miles has you sore, take a brisk walk for a half a mile to a mile.

Get a massage. When you exercise to exhaustion, tiny tears occur in muscle fibers. The body’s natural response to these tears is inflammation. Massage helps reduce the amount of cytokines the body produces, which play a role in inflammation. Massage also seems to increase the amount of mitochondria in your muscle, which enhances the muscles’ ability to extract oxygen.

  • Massage also helps move lactic acid, lymph, and other stagnant toxins from the muscles.
  • Seek out a massage therapist and allow him to work on your sore muscles. Massage therapy is relaxing, meditative, and healing.
  • Massage the muscles yourself. Depending on the location of the soreness, you can try to give yourself a massage. Use a combination of your thumbs, knuckles and palms to work deep into the muscle tissue. You can also use a lacrosse or tennis ball to really work into knots and take the pressure off your hands.
  • If you are massaging a sore muscle, don’t focus on the middle of the sore muscle. Focus more on the connections at each end. This will help the muscle to relax more quickly. So if your wrist is sore, massage your forearm.

Part 3 Preventing Muscle Soreness

Plan a proper diet, including keeping hydrated. If your muscles are sore from intense activities such as weightlifting, your muscles are rebuilding themselves, needing water and lots of protein. For optimal muscle growth, consume 1 gram (0.035 oz) of protein per day for every pound of lean body mass that you have, or, consume 0.22% of your lean body mass in protein.

  • For example, a man who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) with 20% body fat, has 120 pounds (54 kg) of lean mass, and should consume 120 grams (4.2 oz) of protein per day. This will speed up recovery times considerably, as well as prevent muscle loss from poor nutrition. Eat Protein 15 to 45 minutes after workout for best results.
  • Drink lots of water while you workout and throughout the day. Your muscles need water to function at their peak, and your body needs water to repair your muscles. Don’t forget to drink water.
  • Eating carbohydrates before and after your workout aids in muscle recovery and gives you the fuel necessary to power through your routine.

Consider taking vitamins, antioxidants, and other supplements. Muscles need particular vitamins and minerals to repair properly as you work out, so prepping the body with the right supplements will help prepare it for strenuous exercise.

  • Vitamin C and antioxidants, in particular, have been effective in helping to prevent muscle soreness. Blueberries, artichokes, and green tea are antioxidant-rich, while chili peppers, guavas, and citrus fruits are all high in vitamin C.
  • Look into supplementing with branched-chain amino acids (bcaa: L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-valine) and others before exercise — such as l-glutamine, l-arginine, betaine, and taurine — may help prepare to clear waste products from your muscles. This also may promote recovery and protein turnover, rebuilding muscle.
  • Consider adding a protein supplement. Protein helps rebuild the muscles. You can try eating more natural sources of protein (like eggs, yoghurt, or chicken) or consider adding a scoop of protein powder in your post-workout smoothie.
  • Consider adding creatine to your diet. Creatine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body, but adding more creatine to your diet can help your muscles repair themselves more quickly after an intense workout. Creatine supplements are available at health food stores.

Try tart cherry juice. Sour cherry juice is quickly becoming recognized as a superfood, known for its antioxidants and other benefits. In one study, scientists found that tart cherry juice provided relief for mild to moderate muscle soreness.

  • You can find 100% tart cherry juice at most major grocery stores or health food stores. Look for a brand that does not mix the juice with another type (for instance, cherry-apple juice), as those brands tend to put in a minimum amount of cherry. Also, be sure that the juice does not contain any added sugar or other ingredients.
  • Try using tart cherry juice as the basis for a post-workout smoothie, or drink it on its own. It’s great straight out of the freezer or place a plastic cup of cherry juice in the freezer for about 45 minutes to create a delicious cherry slushie.

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