Since it’s Pain Awareness Month, we’d like to address how you can reduce the typical aches and pains that people get after a workout: it’s called delayed onset muscle soreness, AKA DOMS.
But first, let’s go over WHY we even feel sore after a workout. Essentially, we accumulate microtears in our muscle fibers that need to heal and repair after exercising. We also build up lactic acid in our muscles – byproducts of our body breaking down much-needed oxygen for exercise. But it’s not all bad – this repair and rebuild phase allows our muscles to grow back stronger, bigger, and faster.
Now, even though muscle rebuilding is important, it doesn’t mean you can’t get relief from this less-than-enjoyable post-exercise routine! Let’s check out some ways to reduce muscle pain after a workout.
Step #1 to reducing soreness after a workout: hydration. When you drink lots of water before and after exercising, you’re better able to flush out the toxins and byproducts that create feelings of soreness.
Are you getting enough protein? It matters when it comes to reducing DOMS. Since proteins are the building blocks of our muscle fibers, it’s important that you have a healthy amount of protein in your diet. Your body will be in muscle-synthesis overdrive after exercising, so a balanced diet is key. Just don’t overdo it with the protein!
The cure for the workout blues? More workouts.
No, really. Many athletes and trainers swear that lying down after a strenuous workout only leads to achier pains and increased soreness. It’s thought that by staying stationary after vigorous exercise, you’re preventing your body from getting the nutrients and blood supply it needs. Instead, light activity, like a long walk, is encouraged to promote circulation and prevent buildup of nasty substances (lactic acid, for example).
Should I Use Ice?
It seems like everyone’s got an opinion on whether to use heat or ice. For us, we think you can go either way for immediate relief.
As for long-term pain relief, it’s not exactly recommended that you leave an ice pack on for hours at a time. After exercising, your muscles are in the inflammation and healing states. They need a greater blood supply to deliver healing substances. And since icing causes blood vessels to contract, you might be cutting your muscles off from a precious blood supply.
Feeling tight? Then it’s time for a session with a foam roller. Foam rollers are incredible, not just for massaging tight muscles, but for increasing circulation and releasing the myofascial tissue that surrounds the muscles. The pain relief is immediate – but the recovery from a foam roller lasts for days.
Whether you’re a mature adult who’s starting to get hit with post-workout aches and pains, or someone who’s finally done dealing with DOMS, these tips and tricks can assist in making your training that much more comfortable.
But, if you want to be coached through effective, low-impact workouts, check out our Training App (Android or iOS). You can find hundreds of different isometric exercises that target the muscles efficiently and quickly; the perfect cooldown or warmup for an intense training session.
The Activ5 is safe and easy on your joints; designed to be a workout that you can trust. Test the device out in an Apple store near you.