Relieve Muscle Soreness with These Tips

You’re here probably because the day after a hard day’s training, you’re struggling to descend downstairs or having a hard time maintaining the strength of your glutes while sitting mid-air in a public toilet. Your muscles seem like burning in each step that you make, especially after leg day! It’s no wonder a lot of people skip leg day than become a cripple 12–48 hours after a workout. Don’t let muscle soreness stop you from training!

Most of us who undergo tough sweat sessions measure our progress by the intensity of soreness we feel in the body. Muscle soreness can be a good indicator of how we smashed our workouts and poured our hearts into them, but it’s not really necessary that we must feel the agonising sensation after every exercise. This pain that we feel is called DOMS.

What is DOMS?

DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness happens when there are microscopic tears within muscle tissues, which is created when you work out. This pain that you feel is your body’s way of telling you to rest for a while because there’s an ongoing muscle repair work happening. Think about how smart your body is to let you know about that!

DOMS usually happens to weight lifters because they are bound to perform muscle contractions by lifting and lowering the weights down. If you’re planning to be active all your life, expect to experience DOMS every once in a while, especially when performing new routines or increasing the load you lift.

Treating DOMS

It can happen to anyone, but luckily there are a lot of ways to recover quickly from DOMS and get right back into getting strong.

  1. Light Massage

As we all know, working out can cause microscopic tears in our muscle, which results in pain and stiffness for a few days. One of the ways to reduce the effects of DOMS is to enhance blood circulation and flush out waste products, which can be achieved when you treat yourself for a light massage. This effectively speeds up the recovery and shortens the duration of muscle soreness.

You can also use foam rollers to reduce the tightness of some spots and muscle adhesions. It relaxes your muscles and optimise the repair process of the body.

2. Warm Bath

A warm bath can also loosen up tight muscles and improve blood flow. Better blood circulation means more oxygen and nutrients are being distributed to your whole body that can bring relief to your aching muscles.

3. Rehydrate

After your workout, make sure that you can replace the fluid you lost. Your hydration levels is very important to reduce muscle soreness.

Dehydration negatively affects muscle performance by impending thermal regulation, changing water movement across cell membranes, and interfering with actin-myosin cross-bridge formation. Individuals performing eccentric movements during a workout may worsen the skeletal muscle damage when they are dehydrated, as a result of reduced intracellular water. Therefore, dehydration may increase the risk of DOMS in healthy individuals undergoing physical training.

4. Ibuprofen

Severe cases of DOMS may require over-the-counter painkillers, particularly ibuprofen. Just taking a low-dose of it has been shown to minimise muscle soreness, which can help you feel better sooner. Just a caveat though: NSAIDS like ibuprofen may hinder hypertrophy (muscle growth).

5. Sleep

Sleeping is very important to muscle recovery. Getting ample sleep can help your body recuperate faster.Not getting enough of it will only exacerbate muscle soreness.

While the relationship between sleep and exercise is still unclear, studies suggest that lack of sleep may cause negative effects on performance and recovery. This is because when you sleep, your body’s growth hormones are at their peak and protein synthesis happens more effectively.

Lifting weights may cause strains and tears in your muscle tissues and that’s okay! It is even necessary to allow for hypertrophy to happen assuming your workout is done properly, but DOMS isn’t. True, getting muscle soreness feels like being given a medal for the hard work done, but it won’t feel like it when you get a severe case of it.