You walk out of the gym, congratulating yourself for finishing a tough workout, but the next day, the real struggle starts. Your shoulders stiffen, and your lower back aches.
These symptoms are known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Experts used to agree that this occurs because of lactic acid build-up. However, today, there’s a general agreement that inflammation is the culprit.
Whatever the cause, you can receive relief. Use these suggestions to avoid muscle soreness or speed up recovery. Programs like Functional Medicine Burbank can also suggest various treatment options.
Things to Do Before Your Workout:
- Drink water. Staying hydrated cuts down your risk for cramps and inflammation. Individual needs may vary, but pale urine is usually a sign that you’re drinking enough water.
- Snack on fruit. Fight inflammation and cramps with certain fruits. Eat a banana or some pineapple, tart cherries, or raspberries.
- Sleep well. Working out when you’re sleep-deprived can weaken your muscles. Follow a consistent bedtime and strive for at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
Things to Do During Your Workout:
- Pace yourself. DOMS is most intense and strenuous when you overexert yourself. Gradually adding challenges to your workouts can allow you to experience greater comfort and less risk of injury.
- Use correct form. Protect yourself by properly performing exercises. Study videos from reliable sources or partner with a trainer if you need further help.
- Warm up. Cold muscles are highly vulnerable. Start your workout with dynamic stretches and other gentle movements for about 10 minutes or so.
- Cool down. Ease your body back into everyday life outside the gym by jogging slowly or performing other easy exercises to transition back to a resting state.
Things to Do After Your Workout:
- Stretch again. Stretch your muscles while they’re still warm to stay limber and expand your range of motion. Breathe deeply and hold static poses during this time.
- Keep moving. You might be tempted to lie in bed when walking starts to hurt, but that can worsen your symptoms. Push yourself to walk around a little or do minimal movements.
- Apply ice. According to studies, ice baths and ice packs can be highly effective as a muscle soreness treatment. You can also try contrasting showers, as long as you have no history of cardiovascular disease, alternating between moderately hot and cold water. If you have a history of this disease, soak in a warm bath with Epsom salts; this is a safer alternative.
- Massage yourself. Treat yourself to a professional massage or try it at home. In the areas where you’re sore, use your hands or foam rollers to rub softly.
- Wear compression garments. Some athletes wear compression socks and other garments as these speed up recovery by decreasing swelling and increasing blood flow. Check your skin daily for any signs of irritation or redness.
- Eat more protein. Consuming more protein helps your muscles repair themselves. Good sources of protein include fish, dairy products, beans, and soy. Additionally, you’ll metabolize it more effectively if you add protein to each meal and snack instead of saving it for dinner.
- See your doctor. You need to distinguish between DOMS and other serious injuries that may demand medical treatment. See your Los Angeles Functional Medicine physician if your symptoms last for more than 3 days or if you experience sudden pain while working out.
You can stay fit and build muscles without getting muscle soreness. However, any minor aches can usually be relieved with easy home treatments. Respecting your body’s limits can help you lead and experience a long and active life. For additional support, you can also enlist the help of Functional Medicine Studio City experts to keep your health monitored.