Pushing yourself with a rigorous workout is an excellent way to build strength and endurance.
But it’s not unusual to feel sore and achy the next day. It may be painful, but it’s certainly manageable.
Typically, soreness, which is also referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), results when you’ve introduced something new into your training routine. This could be a new move, increased repetitions, or an increased weight load. The feeling usually kicks in anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after you’ve completed the workout and peaks between 24 to 72 hours.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), soreness happens when your muscle fibers experience microscopic damage.
Examples of activities that are known to cause DOMS include:
- strength training exercise
- walking down hills
- step aerobics
- jumping activities
In fact, sometimes you may also feel DOMS when attempting daily activities like getting out of bed, bending down, and walking around.How to Cope with Soreness
Here are some ways to manage your soreness and encourage a fast recovery.Foam Roll and Stretch
Yes, using the foam roller is the “hurts so good” kind of sensation. It helps relieve some of the knots in your tissues, and increases the blood flow and fluid back to the muscles, allowing for greater mobility and flexibility over time.
Foam rolling at least once a day will help relieve pain or soreness. Dynamic stretching is also a great way to help your muscles fight through the tension. If you don’t know how to properly use a foam roller or the best dynamic stretches, work with a trainer who is familiar with these techniques.
Ice is usually used for inflammation and post-workout soreness. Try to use an ice pack for a few minutes at a time throughout the next few days.
Sometimes the use of heat could increase the sensation of soreness you feel, so with this instance, ice is recommended.Stay Active
Even though being sore makes you not want to do anything, it’s better to keep moving with low intensity cardio like walking, a light jog, or swimming.
This helps alleviate the lactic acid built up in your muscles as well as increases the blood flow to the affected areas. Just be sure to listen to your body.Refuel Adequately
What you eat after your workout is as important as what you eat before.
Replenish yourself with a well-balanced meal including protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Try to avoid caffeine, sugary foods, and alcohol in the hours after a workout.Get Your Zzz’s
Sleep is not only important for active recovery. With adequate sleep, your body won’t try to overcompensate by eating unnecessary calories.
During challenging training routines, try to give your body the rest it truly needs.Stay Hydrated
Water is essential before, during, and after your workouts. The fluid will help replenish what was lost during your workout through sweat or urine.
Ensure proper intake and include water-rich foods into your diet.