Quick Ways to Relieve Muscle Aches & Soreness
Follow these tips to recover faster from your workout
Muscle aches are among the inevitable effects of working out. If you've had them before, you'd know how they affect your range of movement as well as daily activities.
Being in cold environments like air-conditioned rooms does not help. When your surrounding temperature is low, your blood circulation slows down, causing your tight muscles to stiffen up even more.
Try these easy remedies to reduce muscle aches and soreness.
DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Down a few more cups of water than you usually do, and you just might be able to clear yourself of those aches. Water is the best form of hydration, and it is essential to help your muscles function and recover properly. Best part: It has zero calories.
DO RECOVERY EXERCISES
Exercising may be the last thing on your mind, but it will do your sore muscles good. Go for light-intensity exercises like a slow jog or swim to encourage blood flow to your muscles, which helps to speed up recovery.
STRETCH AFTER A DYNAMIC WARM-UP
When your muscles are warmed up after doing simple exercises, don't forget to stretch them. Doing so relaxes and lengthens tight muscles, letting you recover more quickly. Do these stretches if your lower body often feels sore.
Clocking enough sleep just seems to be the solution to all sorts of body issues, including muscle aches. In your deepest stages of sleep, your body is at its peak in restoring your torn muscle fibres, as blood pressure drops and blood flow moves to your muscles and tissues.
Many athletes turn to foam rolling to soothe their muscles, so they can resume training the next day. All you need is a foam roller - opt for one with medium pressure if you're just starting out. Don't have one? A tennis ball works just as well.
GET A MASSAGE
A medium- to hard-pressure massage will stimulate blood flow to your muscles, help them relax and reduce stiffness.
APPLY A MEDICATED PATCH
This is probably the fastest way to deal with the discomfort. Most pain relief patches contain methyl salicylate and menthol, counterirritants that cool or warm your skin to distract you from feeling muscle pain. The same applies to over-the-counter lotions, gels and sprays.
TAKE A WARM BATH
If you're aching from head to toe, there's nothing soaking in a hot tub won't fix. The elevated temperature boosts blood circulation, releasing the tension in your muscles. Bonus: The warm bath will induce relaxation and deeper sleep later on.
WEAR COMPRESSION GARMENTS
These skin-hugging clothes are designed to support your muscles, as well as boost blood circulation. Several studies have found that compression clothing aids in the removal of lactate and creatine kinase - basically the waste that comes from muscle exertion and damage.
A version of this article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).