Have you ever been on top of your exercise game, only to be rewarded with stiff, sore muscles? This handy two-part guide will help you to manage your muscle soreness and keep your fitness routine on track.
Part 1: Warm Up & Work Out
Sometimes the warm achy post-workout feeling feels so good. Other times the pain can be so intense that walking up the stairs or lifting a coffee cup feels impossible.
Whatever degree of muscle soreness you are experiencing, donâ€™t let it put your workout routine on hold any longer. The following steps will help to alleviate pain and allow your muscles to return to their full functional health in no time.
1. Eat a A Protein Rich Diet
Protein molecules are like tiny superheroes, flying in to save the day. These amazing amino acid compounds provide structure to all the cells in our body, including our muscles. When we experience microscopic tears in our muscles after exercising,Â these guys come in to repair and rebuild the tissue.
Whey is a particularly effective source of protein for healing sore muscles. Formed from cow’s milk, you can find this protein in many natural and vegetarian food products. Unlike other sources of protein, whey protein is easily digested by the body. It accelerates the healing of muscle fibers, therefore reducing muscular fatigue.
Whey protein powder makes it super easy to add protein to your meals so you can recover from those aches and pains. Protein bars are another easy solution to adding some whey to your day. Detourâ€™s Cookie Dough Caramel Crisp Lean Muscle Bar will give you 32 grams of whey protein in a single serving. There are a variety of options for protein bars, just make sure you inspect the ingredients in the bars you choose. A variety of options includes a variety of protein sources.
2. Warm Up Before You Work Out
Even on a warm day, a simple warm up routine before exercising helps to prevent muscle soreness and injury. A short 3-5 minute routine is all you need. Perform gentle movements that reflect the activity you’re about to take part in.
If youâ€™re a runner step into some shallow lunges. Swimming more your thing? Get those arms rotating in gentle circles. These movements will generate heat in your body and raise your heart rate.
Raising your heart rate gets your blood pumping. This brings more nutrients such as oxygen into the muscles, preparing them for increased pressure or movement. The heat generated by this blood flow reduces muscular tension and results in greater flexibility of your muscle fibers. More flexibility allows a wider range of motion, which ensures your muscles will stretch, not tear when the workout begins.
Want an added bonus? Warming up your body prior to any physical activity also speeds up nerve impulse transmissions in the muscle. This results in faster reaction time and improves overall function and power output. By warming up, youâ€™ll be able to smash out your exercise routine with better functional performance, and experience less severe post-exercise soreness. Itâ€™s a win, win!
3. Stretch Before And After You Move
Channel your inner yogi to reduce the intensity of muscular soreness and fatigue. Stretching before your workout enhances the effect of your warm up routine. Incorporating static (still) or dynamic (moving) stretches to conclude your warm up will assist blood flow and heat production to prepare areas of your body for movement.
Stretching post-workout promotes blood and lymph flow throughout the body. This assists the transportation of nutrients and accelerates your bodyâ€™s repairing process. This period of elevated blood flow also removes toxins such as lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during exercise. As you remove more of this acid from your muscles through stretching, youâ€™ll notice quicker recovery times and less post-workout discomfort.
Take around 10 minutes to focus on your stretching at the completion of your workout. Engage the muscles youâ€™ve used in a stretch and hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Stretching immediately after exercising is the best time to do so, the risk of injury is low as your muscles are warm and relaxed.
Are you a fan of pumping iron? Post session stretching is especially important after resistance weight training. Hitting the weights actually causes your muscles to shorten. Stretching after you lift helps to elongate your muscle fibers and encourage elevated flexibility. You will experience greater ease of movement which will help to improve your physical performance and reduce your risk of injury.
4. Employ Cool Down Methods
Cooling down after exercise isn’t just about dowsing yourself with water. An effective cool down is so much more. It is a procedure that if implemented correctly can help ward off muscular fatigue.
Let’s say you suddenly stop your workout without performing a cool down. Your heart will continue to beat at an elevated rate for some time. It will continue to pump blood throughout your now inactive body. This causes the blood and lactic acid to pool in your stationary muscles.
A cooldown method prevents the pooling of toxins in your muscles that lead to muscular soreness. It does this by allowing your heart rate to slow in relation to the lessening demands on your muscles.
To ace your cool down practice, perform the same or similar movements from your workout with less intensity, and do this immediately after exercise, right before you stretch. Gradually reduce the velocity of these movements over a period of 5 minutes, or until your heart rate feels near your normal resting rate.
With a few small adjustments to your diet, and a little extra TLC to promote blood flow, you can prevent pain and reduce the time it takes your body to recover from fatigue. However, to eliminate prolonged muscle soreness youâ€™ll need to take another step to remove the contaminants from your post-workout bloodstream, so stay tuned for Part 2 of this series. Weâ€™ll show you how a few household items can remove the post-workout toxins that cause you to put your fitness goals on hold.