5 Ways to Ease Post-Workout Muscles

If yesterday’s workout makes your muscles scream today, take that as a good sign. You most likely have “delayed muscle soreness” (DOMS), which means you’ve worked hard enough to create tiny tears in your muscle fibers.

This can happen when you increase your workout’s intensity, frequency, or duration or try a new activity. As your muscles heal, they get bigger and stronger, paving the way for the next fitness level.

DOMS usually begins 12 to 24 hours after a hard workout and peaks between 24 and 72 hours. The soreness will go away in a few days. In the meantime, these tricks can help ease the pain.

Keep moving. You may want to snuggle up on the couch while your muscles recover, but moving your body can help you feel better. The trick is to make something light and gentle.

“My favor”te thing is swimming or biking, very easy, for an hour or so,” says Je”nifer Rulon, seven-time Ironman and triathlon coach.

Rest and recover. A little R&R is good too.

“Days off” are critical to recovery,” Rulon s” ys.

A day off gives your body a chance to recover and replenish its energy stores. Rulon says that the second day after an intense workout can be the toughest. So she suggests doing the light exercise the day after a hard workout, then stopping the next day.

Apply heat (gently)

Apply heat (gently). If your muscles are still sore after 48 hours, try heat. This can stimulate blood flow to your muscles to relieve tension and help them feel better.

Try a warm (not hot) towel or heating pad. But be careful. According to Rulon, the heat comes with many warning signs. “It c”n cause burns and further muscle inflammation.”

Avo”d direct contact with any heating device.

Get a massage. It can relieve muscle tension, increase blood flow, and increase joint range of motion, Rollon says. It’s a great mood booster.

When your muscles are sore, a light massage is best. Choose one that uses light pressure, like a Swedish massage, which Rulon says is better for recovery than a deep tissue massage. Or try sensitive point acupressure, where the massage therapist applies pressure and holds it right on sensitive areas.

Take an anti-inflammatory. Over-the-counter versions of these drugs can reduce swelling and relieve pain. Try aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

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