If you love workouts, you can surely agree that there are not so many things that can compare to a good old dopamine rush after an extensive workout.
Here’s the scenario – you have just finished working out, you can catch a breath, sit down, drink some water, and you feel like you are on top of the world basically. But, then, you will wake up tomorrow and realize that you overdid it – your muscles are so sore that you are regretting the whole workout.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to be like that – there are some steps to be made that can greatly help you with sore muscles after a workout, and in this article, we are going to talk about them.
First things first – what even causes sore muscles?
Basically, when you work out harder than usual, or if you place stress or load on the muscle group that you don’t regularly use that much, it causes micro-tears in muscle fibers. Your body responds to such stress by triggering an inflammatory process which further helps it adapt to these changes and regenerate the fibers, baking them stronger in the future, and that’s why the next time, if you don’t wait too long for a workout, you won’t get sore muscles. Inflammatory markers and lactic acid build up in your just-worked muscles in the hours and days after the workout, with a role to all help your muscle tissue repair itself.
While all of this may sound rough and borderline destructive – don’t worry, it’s a natural process that won’t cause any long-term damage, on the contrary – it will help you get stronger!
Can this be avoided?
You don’t need to get sore muscles in order to progress – it can be avoided, and it all comes down to proper care and the stress that you put on your muscles in a short amount of time. And if you do get sore, there are ways to ease the pain, and help your body heal more quickly.
The first thing that needs to be done when it comes to the prevention of sore muscles is to have a good buildup that leads to the workout. So, don’t get right into it, be sure to have the right warm-up and get your blood circulation in your muscles higher. This can be done by running for about 10min, by having a good stretch, and also, by the use of massage guns that are going to prepare your muscles for the upcoming workout. These guns are a great way to “wake up” the muscles before the workout, making them less susceptible to micro-tears, hence contributing greatly when it comes to not getting sore muscles.
During the workout
When it comes to the workout itself, the most important thing is to be aware of your capabilities, as well as pacing yourself. So, going a bit further than your regular routine is always okay, but pushing it too far can not only cause sore muscles, but it can also lead to an injury. So, just follow your body’s capabilities, it’s way better to work out less intensely but more often than overworking yourself, getting sore muscles, and then waiting for a week before being able to hit the gym.
Right after the workout
Many people tend to overlook stretching, but it is extremely important to do so because it’s a first step that leads to the regeneration of your body. By cooling down while stimulating your muscles with stretching, the release of lactic acid due to intense workout beforehand is broken, which allows faster muscle recovery and repair. Using a massage gun or a roller is also a great way to finish your workout.
After you have stretched, it would be great if you would have a hot shower since it helps your muscles to relax, and it also further facilitates the regeneration of micro-tears. And we know, it seems more natural and satisfying to have a cold shower, since your temperature is already higher, but for all the reasons mentioned above, a hot shower is a better option.
A day after the workout
If you really overdid it, and feel the need to relieve the pain, there are ways to do so, and the pain will ease up soon, so – don’t worry. Gentle stretching is a great way to break muscle soreness, as well as having a massage. But if you feel like that would just hurt even more, some ice on the inflamed areas can help in order to reduce inflammation. If all else fails, you can also take some pain relieving medicine.
To sum it up
In the end, it all comes down to, firstly – taking the necessary steps during and right after the workout, and secondly, knowing what to do the day after in order to help your body rest and heal properly. And now that you are nearing the end of this article, you know everything you need to know!