If you have been working out correctly, you have no doubt felt some muscle soreness following your exercise. If you are experiencing actual pain, now would be a good time to contact your doctor. Soreness, however, can appear anywhere from 12 to 48 hours after exercising and last about as long. And while this soreness is a good sign, it should not interfere with your daily activities. Here are some ways to prevent muscle soreness following your workout.
What Is Soreness?
First of all, what is soreness? When exercising you are creating microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. This is actually a good thing, because when your body repairs this tissue, it creates a larger muscle. However, your body’s way to tell you it is working on the tissue (and to leave it alone for a time) is DOMS (or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
There is no way to entirely prevent muscle soreness, but there are several ways to effectively manage and minimize it.
Make sure to stretch. Studies show that doing so before or after exercising does not affect soreness, but does remove lactic acid from your muscles (a natural waste product your muscles create) and does keep your muscles flexible. Remaining flexible is an important way to stave off injuries and to minimize future soreness.
Taking ibuprofen is another tool to help with soreness. This painkiller works well especially with severe cases of DOMS. Taking a low dose, over-the-counter version of this medicine is an easy way to help prevent muscle soreness.
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A warm bath is a great post-workout routine, and a relaxing way to deal with muscle soreness. Soaking in warm water not only quiets the mind, but loosens up tight muscles. In addition, warm baths help increase blood flow. Increased blood flow promotes the circulation of blood, which in turn delivers oxygen and other vital nutrients to your recovering muscles.
Hot/cold packs are another method to prevent muscle soreness. Whatever brand you choose, it is ideal to alternate from hot to cold every 15 minutes. Once again, this alternation aids in improving blood circulation and optimizing muscle regeneration.
Finally, try a massage. A firm massage is a great tool to relax and lower your heart rate. In addition, a good massage will help loosen any tight muscles and knots. Knots, which are contracted muscle fibers, can actually prevent blood flood in the muscle and increase the buildup of toxins. Massages are also great in increasing blood circulation throughout the body.
While modern medicine has not solved the issue of muscle soreness, there are several ways to ease your post workout muscles from the ache, and help prevent muscle soreness in the hours and days following your trip to the gym. With the help of experts, like those at Krav Maga, you can cultivate a workout that is tailored to your fitness level.