Why are Your Muscles Sore After a Workout?
When you exercise, you put a strain on your muscles. This strain causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, which in turn causes inflammation and soreness. The soreness is actually a sign that your muscles are healing and rebuilding themselves to be stronger than before.
There are a variety of ways to alleviate muscle soreness once it has set in, even priming your muscles to become less sore in the future:
1. Get Plenty of Rest
Rest and sleep can help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, improve muscle performance, and even enhance muscle growth. When you rest, your body starts to repair itself by increasing blood flow to the affected area and flushing out toxins that have built up. This helps to reduce inflammation and soreness, allowing your muscles to heal faster.
During sleep, your body releases hormones that help to rebuild and repair muscles. Growth hormone is released during deep sleep, which helps to stimulate muscle growth and improve muscle performance. When you get enough sleep, your body has the opportunity to repair muscle damage and replenish energy stores.
Rest and sleep are important for muscle recovery and can help to reduce the amount of time it takes for your muscles to heal. Getting plenty of rest and sleep following a workout will help you to feel more energized and perform better in your next workout.
2. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods
If you’ve just had a tough workout, you’re probably looking for ways to quickly recover from sore muscles. While getting plenty of rest and stretching are important for recovery, what you eat can also play an important role in helping you get back in the game. Here are some of the best foods for sore muscles that can help you recover faster:
Protein is one of the most important nutrients for muscle recovery. Eating protein-rich foods, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, and dairy, can help your body rebuild and repair muscle tissue. Protein also helps to reduce inflammation, which can help alleviate soreness.
Fruit and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, which can help reduce inflammation and relieve sore muscles. Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are especially beneficial – they’re high in magnesium, which helps reduce muscle cramps and spasms, as well as calcium, which helps to strengthen bones. Other beneficial fruits and veggies include oranges, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, olive oil, and nuts, are important for muscle recovery. They provide energy and help your body absorb vitamins and minerals. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and help to protect against muscle damage.
Whole grains, such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, and whole-grain breads and pastas, are a great source of complex carbohydrates. They provide your body with the energy it needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. They’re also high in B vitamins, which can help reduce fatigue and soreness.
In addition to eating these foods, it’s also important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out toxins and keep your muscles lubricated, which can help reduce soreness.
3. Use a foam roller
Foam rolling can help reduce muscle pain and tension. When you roll, you apply pressure to the affected area, which helps to loosen the muscles and promote circulation.
Begin by lying on the floor with your foam roller positioned under your sore muscles. Slowly move your body back and forth over the roller, using your body weight to apply pressure. Aim to move the roller over each muscle group for 30-60 seconds. If you find a particularly tender spot, stop and hold the pressure for 10-15 seconds before continuing. Once you have finished rolling the muscle group, move on to the next muscle group or area of soreness. When you’re done, stretch the muscle group you’ve just rolled.
4. Take an Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths can help to relieve sore muscles because the salts contain magnesium sulfate. Magnesium is a mineral that helps to relax muscles, and sulfate helps to reduce inflammation. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath can help to provide relief from sore muscles, as well as reduce swelling. Additionally, the warmth of the bath can help to relax muscles and reduce tension.
Stretching helps to restore flexibility and range of motion to sore muscles, allowing them to heal and become stronger. Stretching relieves tension, increases blood flow and oxygen to the muscle, and helps to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. Regular stretching can also help to improve posture and reduce the risk of injury.
6. Use Cold or Heat Therapy
Cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and heat therapy can increase blood flow and help relax the muscles.
Cold therapy helps sore muscles by reducing inflammation, numbing the area, and reducing pain. Cold therapy works by constricting the blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to the area and decreases the amount of swelling and inflammation. This causes the muscles to relax, reducing tension and pain.
Heat therapy is often used to help sore muscles and can be an effective way to reduce pain and stiffness. Heat dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the area, which helps to reduce muscle spasms and relax the muscle. The increased blood flow also helps to bring nutrients to the area which can help to speed up the healing process. Heat therapy can also help to reduce stiffness and pain caused by muscle tension, tendonitis, or arthritis.
Should You Workout With Sore Muscles?
Yes, you can work out with sore muscles as long as you take it slow and listen to your body. Exercise can help reduce soreness and stiffness, so light stretching and low-impact exercises are a good way to get started. However, if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort during exercise, stop and rest.
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