There's no better feeling than having tired muscles after a good workout, and it's wonderful to go home and fall into bed for a good night's sleep. Come morning, what's this? Your muscles are too sore for you to move without screaming and you're in pain all day long.
Sore muscles are the lifter's and runner's worst enemy, as they can be painful enough to stop you from training the next day. Sure, we all know that warming up and cooling down is the way to prevent sore muscles, but what happens if your muscles are sore anyways? It's too late to "do it over," so what can you do to get over sore muscles?
1. Push Through It
Sometimes, your muscles are just sore from use--not from overuse. If your muscles are tired, try and do a bit of exercise and see how they feel. They'll complain at first, but muscles that are just fatigued will usually loosen up and the sore feeling will go away within a few minutes once you get them moving. (Just be careful if you've run a marathon or gone through a rigorous heavy lifting session. You can strain or pull a muscle if you use it incorrectly when it's been blasted.)
2. Bathe It
Soaking in a very warm bath for half an hour will not only relax you completely (especially if you add a glass of wine), but it will loosen up those muscles. Seeing as your muscles aren't in use when you're in the bathtub, the heat will be better able to work on them. It won't be as hard to climb out of the bathtub as it was to climb in.
3. Ice It
One of the reasons your muscles are sore is because of swelling--a completely normal part of the muscle-repair process. You can reduce the soreness-causing swelling by applying a nice ice pack to the painful area. It won't help to completely get rid of the pain, but it can make the pain more manageable--important if you've got a busy day of work ahead.
4. Heat It
The heating sensation of rubs like Vicks VapoRub and Tiger Balm will get the blood flowing to your sore muscles, loosening them up and helping them to work better. A bit of heat can take away a lot of the soreness.
5. Work It
You'll find that a gentle workout of the sore muscles can help you recover, similar to the way drinking "hair of the dog" can help you to get over a hangover. Of course, you'll want to stick with light exercise--such as Yoga, light bodyweight exercises, etc.--so as to avoid pushing your muscles hard. You just want to get the blood flowing faster, and doing light exercise can help.
6. Massage It
There's nothing quite like a good massage to turn your "Owws!" into "Ahhhs!" There is a special type of massage called Active Release Technique that can help to loosen up stiff, sore, and tight muscles, or you can just use any of the self-massaging devices around. If you can talk your partner into a 20-minute massage (not deep tissue, but stretching and relaxing massage), you'll find your muscles are much looser.
7. Cuddle it
Cuddling causes your body to release oxytocin--the so-called "love hormone." Oxytocin helps your body repair your muscles more quickly, stabilizes your blood sugar levels, reduces pain (similar to the way serotonin does), and helps your body produce more energy (needed for muscle repairs) from the fat you have stored. Who knew cuddling could get rid of your soreness?
Andy Peloquin had battled with weight loss issues his whole life. To overcome this, he began studying fitness and is now in the process of becoming a certified professional fitness trainer. He exercise seven days a week and is excited to share his down-to-earth knowledge of exercise and fitness.