Sore Muscles? Oh boy… Let’s do something about it!
If you exercise or play sports regularly, it’s impossible to totally prevent sore muscles. But, there are some things you can do to significantly reduce soreness after a tough game or workout.
Six Simple Ways to Speed Up Recovery and Minimize Muscle Soreness
Read on for six simple tips that will help you speed up recovery and minimize muscle soreness so that you can get back to your training as soon as possible.
#1. Eat Protein and Carbs
Fueling your body properly after a workout can have a major impact on how quickly your muscles recover.
The ideal post-workout meal will be rich in protein and fast-digesting carbohydrates.
Good protein sources include egg whites, chicken breast, turkey, or lean cuts of beef (reserve fattier meats for later, as fat will slow down digestion and muscle recovery). For carbs, try white rice, sweet potatoes, or fruit like pineapple or raspberries.
Protein shakes are fine to consume after a workout from time to time, but it’s best not to rely too heavily on them. Try to get the bulk of your protein from whole, nutrient-dense foods instead.
#2. Take a Nap
For a long time, fitness enthusiasts have touted the importance of eating within a certain period of time following your workout. In reality, though, you might be better off getting some sleep rather than rushing to chow down after hitting the gym.
Post-workout nutrition is important, of course. But, research also shows that a short nap can help your body get into the proper state for repairing and rebuilding muscle after an intense gym session.
If possible, try to lie down for 10-30 minutes after exercising to relax and give your body a chance to heal. Then, when your nap is over, you can go ahead and have your post-workout meal.
Have trouble falling asleep after working out? Just taking the time to sit quietly and meditate can produce benefits that are similar to the ones that come with napping.
#3. Use Compression
Research shows that compression clothing, sleeves, and braces are all good options that help accelerate injury recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
Compression gear is effective because it applies mild pressure to an area that is sore or injured. This pressure helps increase blood flow, which, in turn, can speed up recovery by reducing inflammation and preventing lactic acid build-up.
#4. Foam Roll
Foam rolling has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness after a workout.
When you’re done exercising, spend some time rolling out the muscle groups you hit the hardest. Like compression, this will help to improve blood flow and prevent lactic acid build-up.
In addition to foam rolling after your workout, you can also do it on off days from the gym to improve mobility and further reduce soreness. You’ll see a great change in your range of motion by foam rolling regularly, even if you just do it for 10-15 minutes per day.
#5. Move More
This last tip may seem counterintuitive. After all, the last thing you probably want to do when you’re feeling stiff and sore is more exercise.
But, this additional movement will boost blood flow to help you loosen up your muscles and recover faster.
If you wake up extra sore after a difficult workout, you don’t have to hit the gym as hard as you did the day before.
In fact, that wouldn’t be productive at all. Instead, opt for gentler forms of exercise like walking or yoga to help you stay active without putting extra stress on the body.
#6. Take Some Supplements
Some supplements have been shown to be effective at reducing inflammation and muscle soreness when consumed after a workout. Some popular products you can include in your post-workout routine include:
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) to minimize muscle breakdown and increase protein synthesis.
- Caffeine to block the pain receptors in the central nervous system.
- Vitamin C to reduce the inflammation and oxidative damage caused by exercise.
- Fish oil to reduce inflammation, pain, and muscle damage
The Bottom Line
Don’t let sore muscles hold you back. Keep these six solutions in mind to speed up the recovery process and help you get back to the gym or on the field in no time!