Anyone who works out regularly has probably had their share of sore and achy muscles. While you might think it’s a good pain (is there such a thing?) or proof that you’re going to see results (it’s not), it can be very uncomfortable. I mean, no one likes feeling like they can’t walk up a flight of stairs. Here are some ways to ease your sore muscles and make climbing those stairs a little easier.
Ice First, Then Heat
Applying an ice pack to your sore muscles 72 hours after the workout that led to the pain will help soothe your muscles. An even better option is to take an ice bath. Fill a tub with cold water and a bag of ice and sit for 15-20 minutes. I recommend bringing a magazine and a hot cup of tea to distract you from the ice cold temperature. Applying heat later on will ease pain by increasing blood flow to the area, helping the small muscle tears causing the pain to heal faster. If you have access to a sauna or hot tub, take advantage and go for a long steam or soak.
This is my personal favorite. Our muscles eventually stiffen after a vigorous workout because of poor blood circulation. So, your immediate goal is to get your blood flowing right. Massage the painful areas with slow, even strokes. Applying just enough pressure will help improve circulation and reduce the pain.
There have been conflicting studies about whether or not stretching helps soothe sore muscles, but, personally, I always feel better if I stretch after a workout. It improves circulation and lengthens overworked muscle fibers. Try it out and see if stretching works for you.
Yeah, we know you’re serious about your workouts, but going hardcore at the gym when you’re in pain is definitely not a smart idea. Getting a little movement isn’t a bad idea, though. Going for a walk or short bike ride will get your blood flowing and bring oxygen to your muscles, helping them heal.
It’s normal to feel some mild discomfort after vigorous physical activity and it should subside within 24 to 72 hours. However, if you feel severe pain during an activity or your aches haven’t cleared up within a week, it’s time to seek medical help. Getting to the bottom of the underlying cause of the chronic muscle pain can prevent long-term damage to the injured area.