Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Some people love the ache they get after an intense workout - it’s proof of the hard work they’ve put in. For most of us however, the quicker we can reduce the soreness the better so we can get straight back to the studio, running track or weights room sooner.
So firstly, what is this post-exercise muscle soreness?
Known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), the aching is caused by ‘micro-tears’ in muscle fibres. While this may sound like a painful side effect of exercise, it’s actually part of the natural process of muscle growth. Each tear we make is repaired with stronger, more effective fibres which allow us to better deal with similar stimulus in future; in short: we get stronger. DOMS usually takes 12-24 hours to hit and can take up to 3 days to go away.
This week we share 6 easy ways to recover from muscle soreness faster:
1. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is of course key to nearly all of our bodily functions, including synthesising protein, a key process in muscle repair. Some studies have indicated dehydration may even cause muscle soreness so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workouts.
2. Protein up!
Your body need to repair itself so give it the fuel to do so, protein! Protein shakes are a great whey to top up your protein intake and there are a number of vegan alternatives if you want to avoid dairy-based shakes. Be sure to eat plenty of fats and carbs too, providing your body with the energy it requires for muscle repair.
3. Stay active
This is a good tip for everyday life as a sedentary lifestyle has been proven to cause a number of diseases. Avoid sitting still for too long to prevent your muscles seizing up: setting 30 minute reminders on your phone to get up and move about can really improve the health of your muscles.
Stretching should be an integral part of every workout (we recommend dynamic stretching stretch after your warm-up and static stretching at the end of your workout). While recovering from muscle soreness, try to stretch regularly through the day.
5. Apply pressure
Increase blood flow and muscle elasticity by applying pressure to affected areas with a foam roller or massage.
Exercising everyday without rest is counter-productive; it’s important to give your muscles time to recover, so take time off and get plenty of sleep – you’ll find you perform better when you return to the mat or gym than if you had just powered through!
So hit the mat, spin-bike or bench-press hard, knowing you can recover that little bit faster.