A good workout will improve your mood and leave you feeling energised and proud of yourself. But it can also lead to sore muscles, also known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
DOMS can kick in a day or two after intense exercise, and it happens because muscle fibres are damaged during your workout. When you complete intense exercise, you create tiny tears in your muscle fibres, allowing your muscles to rebuild themselves and become bigger and stronger. You’ll experience soreness or stiffness as your muscles recover, rebuild and grow.
So most of the time, muscle pain or discomfort after a workout is perfectly normal — it’s an essential part of muscle growth and a sign of a great workout. Although if your pain is severe or lasts longer than a couple of weeks, it could be a sign of a more serious injury or condition.
But even if your pain is just a bad case of DOMS, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer until your muscles have healed.
How to Relieve Post-Workout Muscle Pain with Natural Remedies
There are plenty of steps you can take to relieve pain (without turning to pain killers). When you use natural remedies to ease muscle soreness and stiffness, you can enjoy a more comfortable recovery process and get back to the gym sooner.
Plus, you can avoid the need to take over the counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, which have been proven to inhibit muscle growth.
So here’s how to relieve sore muscles after a workout with all-natural remedies.
Keep Your Muscles Moving with Light Exercise
When you feel sore or stiff, it can be tempting to spend a few days lazing on the sofa, waiting for the pain to pass. But keeping active can help your muscles recover and feel better.
You’ve probably noticed that your muscle pain is at its worst when you first wake up. That’s because your muscles aren’t warmed up. But when you embrace an active recovery approach, you get the blood flowing to your aching muscles, reduce lactic acid build-up and reduce soreness.
Stay Hydrated after, before and during Your Workout
Most people know it’s important to drink plenty of water before and during workouts. Still, a common mistake that even the most experienced gym enthusiasts often make is not drinking enough afterwards.
You need to stay hydrated after you’ve finished your workout to prevent muscle cramps and further soreness.
Prepare a Post-Workout Snack
Your body needs fuel to recover quickly, so don’t hesitate to have a post-workout meal or snack. During exercise, your body uses reserved energy (glycogen), and so you lose nutrients.
But with a healthy meal or snack, within 60 minutes of finishing your workout, you can rebuild your glycogen and aid your recovery. Ideally, the food you eat after exercise should contain carbohydrates and plenty of protein.
Get a Sports Massage
Athletes, bodybuilders and gym-goers alike often swear by massage therapy for fast recovery, and that’s because it works. Sports massages reduce muscle soreness and stiffness by increasing blood circulation.
A sports massage therapist with a Level 3 Sports Massage Diploma will also assess acute injuries and identify underlying pathological conditions, then structure a personalised treatment plan.
Make Sure You Get a Good Amount of Sleep
Sleep is essential for fast recovery. Most tissue growth and muscle repair happen when you’re asleep, as growth hormones are released and set to work. Lack of sleep can cause your muscles to stay sore for longer and even lead to chronic pain. So aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night — aim for nine after a seriously intense workout.
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