I am sure you have suffered from it, everyone has at some point, muscle soreness. That horrible feeling when you can’t get out of bed, it pains you to sit on the toilet and stairs are the absolute worst enemy in your existence. So what can you do to help reduce that pain so you can at least get around with your day to day duties and enjoy the fact you worked out.
1) Stretch straight after you finish
This is quite possibly the easiest thing to do, that can have a very big impact on how you feel 2 days after your session. I have been guilty of this myself and immediately regretted it when I woke up unable to move, you get in the gym, do around an hour of training and then shoot off into the rest of your day. You should just take 5-10 minutes out of your workout to focus on the cool down and stretching, this will save days of pain and will reduce the chance of you cancelling your next session because you are still sore. Focus on using static stretches to work on lengthening the muscle and allow the blood flow to push out as much lactic acid as possible.
2) Eat right
Nutrition is key and ensuring you get an adequate intake of food will make a big difference to speeding up recovery. You should look at consuming some potassium to help replenish what was lost during training, the easiest way to get that would be a banana, and look at taking in a protein and carbohydrate drink, protein shakes will help or you can keep it basic with just some chocolate milk.
3) Sleep right
Sleeping is when the body actively works to rebuild the muscles that will have been worked when you took your training session, it is a time where your body rebuilds and replenishes any lost nutrients that the muscles would have used. But the number one reason is your body releases Human Growth Hormone, HGH, when you get into a deep sleep and this helps repair muscle and other tissues while allowing the body to dispose of aging cells within the body.
4) Keep active
Normally when you are sore, the last thing you want to do is go and take up some form of cardio activity, but ensuring that you keep yourself active will actually speed up your recovery time. When taking part in the activity the blood flow working through the stiff muscles will actually help move lactic acid on, therefor lowering that aching pain you get when you go up stairs!
5) They see me rollin’
No this isn’t a tribute to Chamillionaire, I won’t blame you if you ask WHO?! Foam rolling is a fantastic way to help massage the muscles by yourself, proving you the chance to stretch the muscles and again increase blood flow to the sore areas and moving on the lactic acid. The only trouble with this is that you need to be able to push through the pain, especially if you haven’t used a roller in a while or ever before.
Bite your tongue and try to get through it, rolling will make a huge difference.
6) Are you tough enough?!
Ice baths, they are horrible, nobody likes them, but they are one of the best tools to ensure quick recoveries especially after a big cardio or HIIT session. Ice baths cause the blood flow to be taken away from the big muscle groups and reduces inflammation, meaning the lactic acid doesn’t get to sit in your muscles and any swelling will be reduced.
Your best tactic is just to drop in, in one go, do not try to slowly lower into the bath as that never ever works!