Five tips for easing muscle soreness after a tough workout
Bring on the DOMS! – Five tips for easing muscle soreness after a tough workout
Feeling sore after a tough session in the gym? Good! You should be! While muscle soreness after a workout can interfere with simple tasks like walking up the stairs or lifting the wine glass to your mouth, the good news is that this just means it’s working.
Sore muscles after physical activity, known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, usually happens when you start a new exercise programme, change your routine or increase the duration or intensity of the workout. It can happen to anyone at any level of fitness or ability.
So if you’ve taken our advice and added more strength training into your fitness regime, there’s a high chance you’ll be getting a good dose of DOMS. But don’t worry. Muscle stiffness or aching is perfectly normal, it doesn’t last more than a few days and it is actually a sign that your fitness is improving (‘Hurray! Bring on the DOMS’ I hear you cry!).
We can take pleasure from this pain as it’s all part of the conditioning process involved in achieving that toned, healthy physique as your muscles tear, recover and build. If you’re not getting DOMS then you’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough.
That said, there’s no need to suffer through it all like the trooper we know you are. There are some measures you can take to help ease muscle soreness – which are especially useful if you’re eager to get back to the gym for your next session.
Here are our five top tips for easing muscle soreness.
It may seem obvious, but gentle stretching of the sore or stiff areas can help diffuse some of the pain and prevent your muscles from getting too tight. Warm your body up first with a light, gentle warm-up and then stretch off, without overdoing it.
These are great for relieving sore muscles after a workout. Foam rollers are similar to a massage in the way they increase blood flow to your muscles through applied pressure, which in turn can ease the pain and tightness. Foam rollers are actually a great piece of all-round kit to have because as well as soothing sore muscles, they can also help improve flexibility, balance and strength and are often incorporated into Yoga and Pilates workouts.
You probably don’t need much convincing on this one. Treat yourself to a nice long relaxing bath for ‘medicinal purposes’ and throw in some Epsom salts for good measure. The warm water can relax tight muscles and help circulation, while Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) are well known for their healing properties. You can buy Epsom salts in most supermarkets.
It sounds obvious, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that you need to be drinking plenty of water. This is especially true after a workout because water helps to flush out toxins and prevent dehydration, which will make sore muscles even more painful.
Pack in the protein
As the building blocks for life, proteins help you repair and create cells, including muscle. Therefore a high protein diet also aids recovery after an intense workout. A protein supplement pre or post workout is perfect for giving your body the protein hit it needs quickly and with minimal calorie intake. Protein Princess supplements have the added benefit of being designed specifically for women, by women, and contain just the right amount of proteins, carbs and nutrients you’ll need after a workout.
Be interested to find out your tips on avoiding DOMS. Comment below..