How to Help Sore Muscles
Do you suffer from sore muscles? If you’ve just started taking a new fitness class, or have taken your regular exercise regimen to the next level, you’re likely feeling the burn. Not to worry, you’re not alone. Fitness experts claim that after participating in various forms of strenuous physical activity*, particularly those that are new to your body, it is common to experience muscle soreness, stiffness, or even tenderness. Luckily, you don’t have to be a billionaire and invest in tons of expensive muscle recovery equipment like hot tubs, electric stimulation machines or cryotherapy chambers to help your sore muscles relax. Here are some great tips for soothing muscle relief that anyone, with any means, can enjoy.
Ice, ice baby
While you may be craving a hot shower or bath after working out, applying ice to your sore muscles may provide deeper, more beneficial relief, preventing further muscle damage and speeding healing. Soothe your sore muscles with crushed ice in a sealed, waterproof bag wrapped in a towel, to enjoy the optimal combination of cool relief and soft pressure.
Turn the heat on
Yes, we just finished saying how icing your sore muscles is the ideal course of action, but applying heat to spot specific areas in between workouts (i.e. on off days, not immediately after a workout session), can increase circulation, aiding in relaxation while speeding up muscle recovery. It is a great way to feel warm and comforted, so you can think of anything but your sore, aching muscles.
Take a breather – then keep on moving
Enter the “active recovery” phase of your workout by working out every other day, or integrating a gentler, “recovery workout” into your regimen. Slower paced and less intense, these workouts are designed to let your body rest, get used to your workout program and muster new energy for the coming days, while your body works through its soreness. While moving is likely the last thing you want to do when your muscles scream out in pain, keeping in motion, albeit at a slower, gentler pace, is exactly what you need to do – and days down the line, you’ll be grateful you did.
Always remember to stretch
Though you may be more inclined to hit the showers or down a bottle of water, it is essential that you always stretch after each workout. Stretching lengthens your muscles, promoting mobility whilst boosting muscle recovery. All you need to do is dedicate 4-5 minutes of focused stretching of your core and extremities. While stretching may not actually relieve sore muscles, it does help your body feel nice and relaxed while your heart rate returns to its normal, resting level.
Did you know that using a foam roller to massage your sore muscles after exercising can significantly reduce DOMS, a recent study in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy reports. Try rolling the roller over your muscles a handful of times and experience the relief for yourself.
It’s all about that massage
And if you thought the foam roller brought relief to your sore muscles, why not splurge on a deep-tissue massage when feeling particularly sore? Massage has been shown to increase blood circulation to muscles, reducing soreness after exercise. Don’t want to spend a fortune on spa treatments? Use a self-massage device, apply pressure to sore areas using a tennis ball or ask a loved one to take out his or her aggressions on your shoulder, shin or back.
Supplement your diet
A simple Google search will result in all kinds of suggested natural dietary supplements that researchers, doctors and nutritionists claim will help with your sore muscles. From a pre-workout cup of coffee and a post-workout glass of tart cherry juice to arnica, hemp and other natural, plant-based soothing ingredients, there is no shortage of options for you to select.
But, which to choose?
Preclinical trials and anecdotal evidence have pointed to the hemp plant as a source of instant, natural and clean relief. The plant’s compounds, including beta-carophyllene, work together to reduce pain and inflammation. Available in many forms and applications – from topical gel pens, creams and transdermal patches to oils, capsules and other orally ingested powders, hemp-based products can help soothe your muscles spot specifically and systemically (full body), with instant results, and without the adverse side-effects that some individuals may experience with mainstream anti-inflammatory medication.
Easy, effortless, instant.
Ready to soothe?
When starting a new workout regime or kicking your old program up a notch, you’re bound to experience muscle soreness, but you can and should seek instant, long-lasting relief. You can experiment with any or all the muscle relief tips mentioned above, or you can simply talk with your medical professional to weigh the pros and cons of trying hemp-infused products to soothe your sore muscles and always take into account your self-care needs.
*Consult your physician before starting strenuous physical activity.