As I’ve said in the past, I love feeling sore the day after a workout. It’s a great indication that my body was challenged and fat was burned. Both very good things.
However, there are times when I can’t quite cope with how much pain I’m in. When it literally hurts to do anything, i.e. walk, sit, stand… laugh. Yeah, not so much fun, especially when I have to stop reading this very site out of fear of laughing so hard I cry. Literally.
So in an effort to ensure future workouts don’t completely debilitate me (or my dear friend Lauren), I’ve looked into soreness prevention and remedy.
Warm It Up:
Apparently warming up before beginning any cardio or strength training is really important. Doing so warms the muscles, increases blood flow to the muscles, and helps prepare the body and mind for strenuous activity. Most importantly, it can help reduce the chance of injury. I’ve always been one to jump right into my run and not do the whole “brisk walk” thing beforehand. I usually don’t have the patience for it. But I’m willing to try it out if it means I’ll experience less pain.
Streth It Out:
I know, that’s really asking a lot, but after the warm-up you gotta stretch it out. Stretching each muscle for 15-20 seconds before running, biking, or ellipticalling will definitely make a difference. Stretching at this time further prepares the body for what’s coming. And once you’re done, be sure to stretch afterwards too. After you’ve worked your body you muscles are at their most pliable state, so you’ll protect yourself from injury and also increase flexibility.
And if the damage is already done, i.e. you’re now walking like you have a stick up your ass, there are a variety of ways to soothe the soreness.
1. Take a bath with epsom salt. Soaking it hot water alone will increase circulation, creating a soothing-effect. Adding epsom salt will help draw any toxins out of the muscles. I’ve actually done this many times and SWEAR by it.
2. Get a massage. A massage also helps remove toxins from the body and gently stretches the muscles. I am all about this too. I think I can fall in love with anyone who gives me a massage. Anyone who hasn’t gotten one is SERIOUSLY missing out.
3. Drink cherry juice. A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine discovered that drinking unsweetened cherry juice relieved exercise-induced muscle soreness. This option may be a bit too tart for me, but hey, I’ll give it a whirl.
4. Take Vitamin E. This wonder supplement acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals built up during a workout. In a a study it was shown to help reduce symptoms of muscle soreness, inflammation, and muscle weakness.
5. Drink your coffee. Popping a caffeine pill equivalent to two cups of joe has been proven to reduce muscles soreness up to 50%. A study says that caffeine works by blocking the body’s receptors for adenosine, a chemical released in response to inflammation (I hit up sciencedaily.com for that one).
There we have it. All interesting and all natural approaches to reducing that oh-so-good, yet oh-so-unforgiving post-workout muscle soreness. Wow that was a mouthful.
Definitely try these little tid bits out and share your thoughts!!