You’ve heard the old saying, “No pain, no gain.” In the case of building muscles and strength, that statement is definitely true. To get stronger, muscles first have to be broken down a bit (in the form of micro-tears in muscle fiber). Then as they repair they are rebuilt stronger and bigger. That process can’t be painless, right? Not only that, the lactic acid that builds up during your workout can cause pain. Don’t just lie down and take it! Instead, minimize and shorten the length of time that you’re sore with these 9 ways to prevent soreness after you exercise.
Cool Down at the End of Every Workout
No matter what type of workout you do, end each one with a gentle, active cool-down. Jogging, walking, stretching and foam rolling are all good examples of an active cool-down. Any of these exercises will help work out lactic acid that has built up in your muscles.
Lactic acid builds up during a workout when there isn’t enough oxygen available to convert glucose into energy and meet your body’s demand. Instead, your body makes lactic acid, which it can turn into energy without oxygen. However, lactic acid builds up faster than you can burn it. That excess lactic acid can cause soreness.
Staying hydrated will help in two ways. First, water carries oxygen to your blood. If you hydrate enough, you’ll keep converting glucose into energy longer so less lactic acid is made.
Secondly, lactic acid is water-soluble. You need to drink plenty of water to get rid of any lactic acid that builds up.
Use Proper Form
Some soreness is completely normal when you try a new activity or increase the intensity of a move. However, pain and injury from using bad form while performing exercises can be completely avoidable if you are careful.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation goes along with those micro-tears that happen to your muscles. Get rid of that inflammation and you’ll get over the soreness a bit faster. Instead of popping an over-the-counter pain reliever, eat anti-inflammatory foods for a natural approach. Try berries, tart cherries, watermelon, bananas, fatty fish like salmon, avocados, or enjoy a cup of green tea.
Use Heat Therapy
Studies have shown that heat is effective in relieving muscle soreness caused by working out. While any type of heat therapy offers relief, moist heat penetrates muscles faster and may offer a longer time of pain relief. For dry heat, try a heating pad or adhesive heat wrap. For moist heat, take a bath, or better yet, hop in your hot tub!
Get a Massage
A massage, in any form (foam roller, masseuse, or the jets of your hot tub), can help ease soreness. The best time to get your massage is before you feel any pain, right after your workout. It will increase circulation to your muscles, relieve tension, and promote faster recovery. These benefits can all help to head off some of the soreness you might expect.
Use Your Hot Tub
We’ve already mentioned a couple of ways that your hot tub might help (moist heat therapy and a jetted massage), but your hot tub can help relieve soreness in more ways than you might expect.
First, take a soak before you workout. The warm water is a great way to get your muscles ready for exercise, limbering you up so you can get the most out of every stretch (thus helping to prevent injuries). Plus, it will increase blood flow and circulation, carrying more oxygen to your muscles.
Then, 24-48 hours after your workout, take another soak in your spa. The jets will give you that massage you’re craving, while the heat and buoyancy relieve pressure and increase circulation to help you recover faster.
Get More Sleep
Are you used to getting less than seven hours of sleep a night? That won’t do your body any favors when you’re sore from exercising. While you sleep, your body makes natural muscle-building chemicals like human growth hormone and others. The trick is that you need to spend enough time resting for your body to perform all the magic that happens while you’re asleep. So, climb in bed a little early after a big workout; you’ll appreciate it in the morning!
More exercise can help your soreness. Sound counterintuitive? Your leg muscles may be screaming for you to stay in the recliner, but they’ll recover faster if you incorporate recovery workouts. Gentle exercises like walking, yoga, and light cardio will limber you up and increase blood flow. These restorative exercises will help you recover faster.
Another thing that helps is working out regularly. If it’s two weeks between leg days, it’s basically like starting over. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is triggered because you put new demands on your muscles with a new workout, a higher intensity, more reps, etc. If you give your muscles too big of a break, you’ll have to repeat the process. In short, the more consistent you are with your workouts, the less often you’ll feel sore.
Seem like a lot of actions to incorporate into your lifestyle? You can knock out four of them with one tool: your hot tub! With a quality hot tub from Fronheiser, you can:
- Provide moist heat for the whole body
- Increase circulation
- Receive the benefits of incredible hydromassage
- Get restful, long-lasting sleep!
If you want to feel less pain and recover faster after working out, incorporate regular hot-tubbing into your routine. If you don’t have a hot tub of your own, let the knowledgeable experts at Fronheiser help you find a great spa for your lifestyle and budget. We even have hot tub packages that include state-of-the-art features such as marine-grade stereo systems, waterfalls, and spectacular LED lighting. With financing available, the spa to help your health journey is well within reach. Come see us today!