8 Exercises to Try When You’re Feeling Post-Workout Soreness
Feeling sore the day after exercise is no joke, but if you’re a workout fanatic it’s difficult to skip the gym entirely. The good news is there are several exercises to try when you’re feeling post-workout soreness that won’t cause as much pain and may even alleviate feeling uncomfortable.
Low-impact swimming is the perfect cardiovascular exercise when you’re sore post-recovery because you’re not putting stress on sore joints. Higher-impact workouts like running tend to accentuate soreness from the high-intensity jerking motions of hitting the pavement and can tense up your back, neck, and shoulders. But if swimming is the exercise that made you sore, try another form of a low-impact sweat session.
Stretching isn’t a high-calorie-burning workout, but you’ll still expend calories and help ease the pain of delayed-onset muscle soreness. Begin with slow, comfortable stretching in the area that hurts. The University of Rochester Medical Center says to hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat stretches three to five times to relieve sore joints and muscles.
As with swimming, biking is low impact on your muscles and joints and works well when post-workout soreness is getting the best of you. Go slowly at first, work up to an intensity that’s comfortable, and watch the soreness begin to fade away. Try recumbent biking for even more of a relaxing workout and you’ll start to forget soreness ever existed. After your workout, cool down, and don’t forget to stretch.
While not technically an exercise, foam rolling helps improve athletic performance and significantly reduces delayed onset muscle soreness, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training. A variety of different foam roller exercises are available to choose from that help boost flexibility and enhance muscle recovery. The gist of what you’ll be doing is rolling sore body parts back and forth on top of a foam log-shaped device, which puts pressure on the affected area (almost like a massage).
Looking for a fun, relaxing way to get a workout in without making sore muscles more painful? Yoga is the perfect blend of stretching and low-impact calorie-burning exercise that’ll be sure to ease muscle soreness when you need it the most. Women’s Health magazine recommends the cow-face pose and sphinx pose to ease soreness. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated after choosing yoga for muscle recovery.
Walking is one of the lowest-impact exercises available, allowing you to lower workout intensities when soreness begins to set in. Walking gets the blood flowing to the affected area to help ease the pain. Plus, walking outside is an excellent way to unwind, distress, and burn some extra calories during recovery.
If you prefer to burn more calories than walking provides, but still need a lower-intensity workout to aid in sore muscle recovery, try light jogging instead. This exercise is an example of active recovery recommended by menshealth.com. To maximize your comfort level, boost blood flow, increase exercise performance, and further facilitate sore muscle recovery, try wearing compression shorts or other compression gear during light jogs.
While using an elliptical machine can be vigorous if you really exert yourself, taking it easy instead is a low-impact way to work out when you’re sore. But as with any exercise, if the elliptical machine is what made you sore in the first place, change up your routine to work for different muscle groups.
Why Light Exercise Reduces Soreness
When you keep your body moving even when you’re sore, you’ll reap the benefits of increased circulation — which is beneficial for muscle recovery. By choosing to cross-train you’ll work different muscle groups while healing the sore ones, to stay in tip-top shape at all times.
Other Ways to Reduce Muscle Soreness
In addition to staying active when possible (after a proper warm-up of course), there are several other natural ways to ease muscle soreness. Compression garments aid in muscle recovery and help boost blood flow. Taking a hot bath or using a heating pad also helps increase circulation. Icing the area can ease pain and reduce inflammation. Light massage also appears to kick soreness to the curb. Sometimes simply resting is the best medicine. To help prevent muscle soreness from happening, slowly work up to an exercise intensity you’re comfortable with, and don’t overdo it. Be sure to drink plenty of water and remember to stretch after exercising.
What about Nutrition?
Proper nutrition is a must to minimize post-workout muscle soreness. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that caffeine, omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols (found in cherries, blueberries, and pomegranate), and taurine supplements may help prevent or treat delayed-onset muscle soreness. The bottom line is to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods daily.
Why Soreness Happens
Mild muscle soreness and pain are normal after exercising and usually happen within 12 hours (lasting 48 to 72 hours), according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The pain you’ll feel may be due, at least in part, to inflammation or tiny muscle tears. Everybody is different, but you’re more likely to experience muscle soreness after beginning a new workout, adding new activities to your normal regimen, increasing workout intensity, or overtraining. Wait at least 48 hours before working out the same muscle group again.
When to See a Doctor
Muscle soreness (when it’s mild or moderate) after exercise is common and usually not problematic, but severe muscle soreness could be a sign of something more serious. See a doctor if soreness lasts more than 7 days, pain is severe and prevents you from doing normal day-to-day activities, the pain worsens upon exercise, you have difficulty breathing or feel dizzy, or your muscles feel warm, swollen, or red. If you need help now, book online here.