Feeling sore after a workout is natural. Delayed onset muscle soreness is effectively the ache of your muscles rebuilding after you’ve worked them out so far and it can feel pretty draining, to say the least. It can get bad enough to get in the way of you trying to live your daily life, so what can you do to prevent or at least diminish it?
One of the biggest causes of overly extensive and aching DOMS is a lack of proper hydration while you’re working out. Muscle soreness is caused, in part, by a lack of electrolytes. You should be restoring your electrolyte levels as best as possible with water where possible (though some sports drinks can help you recover those levels even faster.) There are hydration tracking apps that can make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day following your exercises, as well, to make sure that you’re not dehydrating yourself into a worse shape.
Skip the bed rest
You might be feeling like you need nothing more than to lie perfectly still when you’re experiencing some serious DOMS. However, the truth is the opposite. If you don’t move around some, your recovery is going to be slowed right down. Active recovery is the key. It doesn’t have to be a lot. A little walking can help you get the blood flowing, and some light yoga exercises can help you get the muscles flexible and limber again. If you experience any pain beyond the usual DOMS, however, you should stop what you’re doing and reduce your activity levels some.
Wear the right gear
There’s very good reason to wear tight workout gear. A good pair of comfortable leggings aren’t just tight so you can show off, it has a real physical fitness application. They offer some compression that can increase your blood flow throughout your body. This supports your muscles while they’re working but also helps to reduce muscle fatigue and repair muscles by increasing the level of muscle oxygenation. As such, you should wear leggings not just in the gym but after a workout, if you want to reduce your recovery period as best as possible.
Work it out
If increasing your circulation can help and stretching out your muscles can help, then it only makes sense that massage therapy can play a huge role in helping you recover from DOMS. You can use things like a foam roller to help massage your own sore muscles, but nothing works better than a professional’s touch. It can also reduce soreness caused by inflammation, as well as reducing muscle swelling and tightness. If you’re skeptical about the benefits of massage after a workout, try it just once and you will feel an almost immediate benefit.
If you don’t experience any soreness the day after a hard workout, then you are not working yourself hard enough. However, the tips above can at least keep things down to manageable levels so you can work and live with ease.