Tough workout? Sore muscles are no joke, and the hours or even days after an intense workout can be seriously painful. You can stretch, hydrate, and rest, but sometimes your body takes a while to recover. Don’t let muscle pain slow you down – try these unique methods to treat your muscle pain so that you can get back on your feet.
Roll Out Your Muscles
Stretching is never a bad idea, but rolling out your muscles is actually the better way to relieve muscle pain. Using a foam roller or another muscle roller targets muscles more closely, as you can focus on a smaller muscle group rather than stretching your whole leg. Foam rollers are the most popular muscle rolling tool, but there are smaller plastic roller sticks and even metal rollers that you can refrigerate to cool and roll muscles all at once.
When you’re rolling out your muscles, go slowly and focus on small areas at once; you don’t have to roll over the entire muscle back and forth. Break it up into smaller pieces to relieve every part of the muscle. It may be slightly painful when rolling out tight spots, but the relief is worthwhile.
Take A Walk
It’s tempting to lie around and rest when you have sore muscles, but they need to be stretched to heal. Jumping back into intense exercise when your muscles are sore could make things worse, but taking a 20 minute walk is a good way to work those muscles without wearing them down. Even if it’s not your legs that are bothering you, a walk is a healthy way to get your whole body moving. Walking improves your circulation, which can help your muscles relax.
Apply Kinesiology Tape
You’ve probably seen kinesiology tape on athletes in the Olympics or even at your local sports games or gym. This colorful tape helps to support muscles without limiting movement, so you can wear it all day regardless of what you’re doing.
Kinesiology tape is meant to microscopically lift your skin away from your muscles, giving them room to heal faster. This space created by the tape allows for improved blood flow and circulation of lymphatic fluids, which help to reduce swelling and soreness. Kinesiology tape is popular among athletes, so it can’t hurt to apply some to your sore muscles to help them heal faster.
Soak Your Muscles
There are different methods to soak your muscles to relieve pain. Many pro-athletes take ice baths after workouts. While getting into a tub of ice water does not sound appealing, it can seriously reduce muscle pain and inflammation. Ten minutes in an ice bath can work wonders.
If you can’t handle the cold of an ice bath, a warm bath also works well to stimulate blood flow and loosen up your muscles so that they can heal. Add epsom salts to your warm bath for added relief. Epsom salts are composed primarily of magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxant and an essential element for muscle health.
This may seem unusual, but go ahead and have that second cup of coffee if you’re experiencing muscle pain. Studies have shown that caffeine can reduce muscle pain and aid in muscle recovery. One study by the University of Georgia concluded that a moderate amount of caffeine (think two cups of coffee) can reduce muscle pain up to 48%. Regular coffee drinkers may not feel the effects as drastically depending on caffeine tolerance. Still, caffeine has been linked to muscle relief in a few different studies, so it’s worth trying.
A few superfoods have been linked to muscle relief as well. Tart cherries or cherry juice are hot new recovery foods, and different studies have shown that ingesting tart cherries or their juice can relieve post-workout soreness. They are super high in antioxidants and have a number of health benefits.
Another option is pineapple, which contains an enzyme, Bromelain, with anti-inflammatory benefits. Cinnamon is another food that helps with sore muscles due to its analgesic effects. Studies have shown that just a teaspoon of cinnamon can produce relieving effects, so sprinkle some in your coffee. Turmeric is a spice well known for muscle relief, and it can be brewed as a tea or latte of sorts.
Treat Sore Muscles
No matter how you treat sore muscles, be sure to stay hydrated and well rested to improve your recovery time. Muscle pain can cause tightness that leads to injury, which will only prolong your pain, so try these methods to treat your muscles after a tough workout. To reduce muscle pain, stretch well before workouts and maintain proper form, especially when lifting heavy objects. A healthy diet and water can make a real difference, so stay on top of your diet and water intake to reduce muscle pain and help heal your body.