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7 Simple Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness

Use these 7 methods if you want to reduce your muscle soreness after working out.

Use these 7 methods if you want to reduce your muscle soreness after working out.

DOMS

DOMs stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It is a common condition experienced by weightlifters and athletes after intense or unfamiliar workouts. DOMs typically occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise and is characterized by muscle stiffness, tenderness, and soreness.

DOMs is caused by microscopic damage to muscle fibers during exercise, particularly when performing eccentric movements (lengthening of the muscle under tension). The damage triggers an inflammatory response in the body as it works to repair and rebuild the muscles, leading to the symptoms of DOMs.

Lower-back-pain How to Fix Upper Back PainSource: CrossFit / Depositphotos

It is important to note that DOMs is a normal physiological response to exercise and is not a sign of an injury or damage. It typically resolves on its own within a few days as the muscles adapt and become stronger. Some strategies to alleviate the discomfort of DOMs include gentle stretching, light exercise, foam rolling, adequate rest, and applying ice or heat to the affected area.

It’s worth mentioning that DOMs can vary in intensity depending on factors such as the individual’s fitness level, the intensity and duration of the exercise, and the type of exercise performed. Gradually increasing the intensity and volume of workouts over time can help reduce the likelihood and severity of DOMs.

7 Methods

01:15 – #01 – Don’t Switch Your Workout Program Too Often

02:36 – #02 – Your Diet

04:03 – #03 – Contrast Therapy

05:40 – #04 – Drink Coffee Before Workout

07:05 – #05 – Foam Rolling

08:22 – #06 – Stay Active

09:12 – #07 – High Quality Sleep

Video – 7 Simple Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness

Why is Diet Important for Muscle Recovery?

Diet plays a crucial role in muscle recovery after exercise. It provides the necessary nutrients and energy for repairing damaged muscle tissue, replenishing energy stores, and promoting overall recovery. Here are some reasons why diet is important for muscle recovery:

Protein synthesis: Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth. During exercise, muscle fibres undergo micro-tears, and consuming an adequate amount of protein post-workout provides the necessary amino acids to support muscle protein synthesis. Protein-rich foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and tofu are beneficial for muscle recovery.

Muscle glycogen replenishment: Intense exercise depletes muscle glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout helps replenish glycogen stores, providing the energy needed for future workouts. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are recommended to support glycogen replenishment.

Anti-inflammatory properties: Intense exercise can lead to inflammation in the muscles. Certain foods, particularly those rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, can help reduce inflammation and promote faster recovery. Examples include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish (such as salmon or trout) that contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Micronutrient support: Adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is essential for optimal muscle recovery. Nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc play important roles in tissue repair, reducing oxidative stress, and supporting overall recovery. A balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources can help ensure sufficient micronutrient intake.

Hydration: Proper hydration is crucial for muscle recovery. Water helps maintain optimal muscle function, supports nutrient transport, and facilitates waste removal from the body. Staying hydrated before, during, and after exercise is important for optimal recovery.

It’s important to note that individual nutritional needs may vary based on factors such as body composition, exercise intensity, duration, and personal goals. Consulting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can help you develop a personalized diet plan that supports your specific muscle recovery and fitness goals.

How Can Foam Rolling Help Relieve Muscle Soreness?

Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique that involves using a foam roller to apply pressure to specific muscles and fascia (connective tissue) in order to alleviate muscle tension and soreness. Here’s how foam rolling can help relieve muscle soreness:

Increased blood flow: Foam rolling helps increase blood flow to the muscles being targeted. The pressure applied to the muscles through the foam roller compresses the blood vessels temporarily. When the pressure is released, fresh blood rushes to the area, delivering oxygen and nutrients while removing waste products. This increased circulation can help accelerate the healing process and reduce muscle soreness.

Foam-Rolling Female Crossfit AthleteSource: RX'd Photography

Myofascial release: Foam rolling targets the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles. Over time, fascia can become tight and develop adhesions, restricting muscle movement and causing discomfort. By rolling the foam roller over specific areas, you apply pressure to the fascia, helping to release adhesions and restore normal tissue elasticity. This myofascial release can relieve muscle soreness and improve overall flexibility.

Neural stimulation: Foam rolling also stimulates the sensory receptors in your muscles, tendons, and fascia. This sensory input can help interrupt pain signals and promote a relaxation response in the muscles. The pressure and rolling motion of the foam roller can have a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing muscle tension and soreness.

Self-massage and trigger point release: Foam rolling can act as a form of self-massage, allowing you to target specific trigger points or knots in the muscles. Applying pressure to these tight spots can help release tension and alleviate muscle soreness. By rolling slowly over the affected area and pausing on trigger points, you can help break up adhesions and promote muscle relaxation.

It’s important to note that while foam rolling can provide temporary relief from muscle soreness, it may not address the underlying cause of the soreness or prevent future muscle soreness entirely. It is typically most effective when combined with other recovery techniques such as proper nutrition, hydration, rest, and stretching.

Why is Sleep Vital for Muscle Recovery?

Sleep is a vital component of muscle recovery and overall physical well-being. Here are several reasons why sleep is essential for muscle recovery:

Hormonal regulation: During sleep, the body releases important hormones that promote muscle repair and growth. Growth hormone (GH) and testosterone, in particular, play crucial roles in tissue regeneration and muscle protein synthesis. Insufficient sleep can disrupt the normal hormonal balance, negatively impacting muscle recovery processes.

Protein synthesis: Sleep supports protein synthesis, the process by which the body builds and repairs muscle tissue. During sleep, the body utilizes dietary protein to repair damaged muscle fibres and build new ones. Sufficient sleep provides an optimal environment for efficient protein synthesis, facilitating muscle recovery and adaptation to exercise.

Energy restoration: Sleep allows the body to restore energy levels and replenish glycogen stores in the muscles. Glycogen, the stored form of glucose, is a primary energy source during exercise. Inadequate sleep can lead to depleted glycogen stores, hindering performance and impairing muscle recovery.

Inflammation reduction: Intense exercise can cause inflammation in the body, including in the muscles. Sleep plays a vital role in reducing inflammation by regulating immune responses and promoting anti-inflammatory processes. Sufficient sleep helps mitigate exercise-induced inflammation, supporting muscle recovery and reducing soreness.

Central nervous system recovery: Sleep is crucial for the recovery of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS coordinates muscle contractions and movements during exercise. Adequate sleep allows the CNS to rest and recover, optimizing neural function and promoting efficient muscle activation during subsequent workouts.

Mental and psychological recovery: Exercise and training can place significant mental and psychological stress on individuals. Sleep is essential for overall mental and emotional well-being. Sufficient sleep improves mood, reduces stress levels, and enhances cognitive function, all of which contribute to better recovery and performance.

To optimize muscle recovery and overall health, it is recommended to prioritize adequate sleep duration and quality. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, establish a consistent sleep schedule, create a sleep-friendly environment, and practice good sleep hygiene habits such as avoiding caffeine and electronic devices close to bedtime. Prioritizing sleep as part of your recovery routine can enhance muscle recovery, performance, and overall well-being.

How Do Hot and Cold Showers Help Muscle Soreness?

Hot and cold showers, also known as contrast showers or hydrotherapy, can be used as a form of therapy to help alleviate muscle soreness and promote recovery. Here’s how hot and cold showers can benefit muscle soreness:

Vasodilation and vasoconstriction: Alternating between hot and cold water causes blood vessels to undergo vasodilation (widening) and vasoconstriction (narrowing). When exposed to hot water, blood vessels expand, allowing for increased blood flow to the muscles. This increased circulation helps deliver oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells to the muscles, promoting tissue repair and reducing soreness. Conversely, when exposed to cold water, blood vessels constrict, reducing blood flow to the muscles. This can help decrease inflammation and swelling associated with muscle soreness.

Pain relief: The application of hot water can help relieve muscle pain and discomfort. Heat has a soothing effect on muscles, increasing blood flow, and promoting relaxation. It can help relax tense muscles and alleviate muscle stiffness, making it easier to move and reducing soreness. Cold water, on the other hand, can act as a numbing agent, providing temporary pain relief by numbing the affected area and reducing pain signals.

Source: Tyler Lilico

Lymphatic drainage: Contrast showers can stimulate the lymphatic system, which plays a crucial role in removing waste products and toxins from the body. The alternating hot and cold water causes a pumping action in the lymphatic vessels, enhancing lymphatic drainage. This can help remove metabolic waste and reduce inflammation, contributing to muscle recovery.

Reduction of inflammation: Hot and cold showers can help modulate inflammation in the muscles. Hot water promotes blood flow and the release of anti-inflammatory substances, which can aid in reducing inflammation. Cold water, on the other hand, can help decrease inflammation by constricting blood vessels and reducing the release of pro-inflammatory substances.

To use hot and cold showers for muscle soreness relief, you can start with warm water for a few minutes, gradually increase the temperature to hot water for a couple of minutes, then switch to cold water for a shorter duration. Repeat this cycle several times, ending with cold water. However, it’s important to listen to your body and adjust the water temperature and duration based on your comfort level.

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