We’ve all been there, haven’t we? You know, the day after a session in the gym or after playing some sports where your every movement induces wince-worthy pain. Let’s not even talk about stairs after leg day (or err, sitting on the toilet).
The actual term for soreness following activity is DOMS – Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness. And man, don’t we know it? You know sometimes it’s even WORSE on day 2 following a workout? Yikes.
It’s not be feared though, the pain is likely caused by the build-up of lactic acid and microtears in the muscle fibres, and it’s through this breaking down that the muscles repair and come back stronger. It’s all good.
By the way, if you’re not sure if the pain you’re experiencing is DOMS, take a read of this post on when pain shouldn’t be ignored.
So the good news is, you can take steps to reduce the pain and though you won’t quite be bounding down the stairs the day after a date with the squat rack, you may just be able to manage it with a few less ‘eech’s’ and ‘ouches’
1. Foam rolling
It’s like ironing your muscles with a giant rolling pin. Using the roller post-workout, you can give your muscles a good stretch and boost circulation to the tissues to aid recovery.
Similarly (but with less effort), you can get a deep tissue massage to help reduce the severity of pain pre-workout – as is often the case with athletes and sportspeople preparing for an event – or up to 3 days post-workout to boost circulation and ease tightness.
Muscles need protein to repair. Eating a protein-rich meal following a session will help feed the tissues, reduce inflammation and aid recovery.
4. Active recovery
Ok, so sometimes the thought of even going for a walk can be painful but bear with me. Low-intensity activity can increase blood flow and nutrient delivery, as well as aiding the removal of waste products. Grin and bear it for the first few minutes, you’ll soon loosen off.
5. Take a bath
The warmth of the water is fantastic for easing sore muscles, and if you add Epsom salts to the water, the magnesium promotes absorption of vitamins and flushes out lactic acid.