It increases blood flow to the damaged muscles, enabling them to heal faster.
We recommend walking, swimming and cycling, for instance.
You shouldn’t exercise the affected muscle groups harder than that though, so wait before your next workout and don’t do any stretching either.
Otherwise, your relief efforts will be for naught and your athletic performance will drop, adding that you may even strain muscles or tear muscle fibres.
Special caution is necessary if a muscle hurts where it’s attached to a bone.
This is as it is a sure sign the muscle’s been overstressed.
But if you feel pain when you press the muscle sore point, i.e. where the muscle is widest.
Then it’s a mild case of post-workout soreness and nothing to worry about.
Helpful in relaxing inflamed muscles are warm compresses, hot baths and sauna sessions, which at the same time stimulate metabolism.
Ice baths and alternating hot and cold showers are metabolically stimulating as well.
Massages aren’t a good idea if your muscles ache.
Kneading them too much or too strongly will additionally irritate the muscle fibres and could worsen the microtears in them caused by the workout.
But if you insist on having some kind of massage, then get a very gentle one.
What can help, however, is lymphatic drainage.
A gentle form of massage, it involves manipulating specific areas of your body to help move lymph to an area with working lymph vessels.
Lymph is a pale liquid that maintains the fluid balance of tissues and removes bacteria from them.
The microscopic damage to muscle fibres, resulting in soreness, leads to a buildup of fluid.
So a decongestive therapy is beneficial in accelerating the healing process.
While there are certainly things worse than post-workout muscle soreness, which may even be oddly satisfying – “no pain, no gain” after all – the question arises: Can it be avoided?
The answer is yes.
The key is keeping your workouts regular and not overdoing it.
If you increase the intensity, e.g. the amount of weight lifted or the number of repetitions, you should do so in small increments.
It’s also important to warm up properly before you start.
Another tip: Make sure your diet is rich in magnesium.
Foods high in the mineral include sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, dates, spinach, oat flakes and Parmesan cheese.
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