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Train Smarter, Not Harder: Tips to Prevent and Relieve Muscle Soreness

July 28, 2021

woman stretching before working out to prevent muscle soreness

When finishing up your workout routine, it is normal to feel sore muscles. After all, your muscles are the ones enduring the impact of all the physical activity during your workout routine.

Unfortunately, muscle soreness can be discouraging when trying to stay on track with your fitness journey. At last, no one wants to push themselves when the reward involves physical discomfort.

The good news is that you can work out without settling for the no pain, no gain approach. Here are some tips to prevent and relieve muscle soreness:

Don’t Forget to Hydrate!

Your trainer probably already has told you this one hundred times: hydration matters.

Hydrating yourself will do more for your body than preventing you from getting thirsty. In fact, hydration will prevent muscle soreness and promote muscle recovery. Furthermore, dehydration causes muscles to become stiff. Therefore, working out under dehydration will make you prone to experience sore muscles, cramps, and injuries.

To prevent dehydration, The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking:

  • 2 to 3 hours before working out: 17 to 20 ounces of fluids
  • 20 to 30 minutes before exercising: 8 ounces of fluids
  • While exercising (every 10 to 20 minutes): 7 to 10 ounces of fluids
  • After working out: 8 ounces of fluids

Include Cool-Down Activities in Your Workout

One effective solution for preventing and relieving muscle soreness is to always end your workout with cool-down activities.

On average, a cool-down phase should last about 10 minutes. Some examples of cool-down activities include walking, stretching, and breathing exercises. You can also use roller foams to make stretching a much easier and pleasant experience.

Try Light Exercises to Give Your Muscles a Break

When having sore muscles, it is tempting to skip your workout the next day. However, there are other ways to care for your muscles without dropping the towel. For example, we recommend doing light exercise sessions of low-impact activities like:

  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

A varied workout also prevents muscle soreness since you won’t stress the same muscle groups every day.

Nurture Your Muscles for a Prompt Recovery

Physical activity — especially strength training activities — causes tiny tears in the muscles. As a result, we experience muscle soreness.

The body needs amino acids to repair muscle tears and build muscle tissue. Also, to carry out this process, your body will need energy from foods like carbs.

In short, good nutrition is essential for developing healthy muscles. Here are some examples of foods that are excellent for muscle recovery/gain:

  • Animal source foods, such as beef, eggs, fish, dairy, and poultry.
  • Plant source foods, such as tofu, soy milk, peanut butter, spirulina, and legumes.

Apply Apple Cider Vinegar on Sore Muscles

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar is effective in treating muscle pain.

Experts recommend dampening a rag with apple cider vinegar and wrapping it around the sore muscle. Then wait for 30 minutes, remove the rag, and rinse off the vinegar. For better results, do this method twice per day.

If Everything Else Fails, Resort to Painkillers

Painkillers are a quick and effective solution to relieve muscle soreness. However, the consumption of certain painkillers may be counterproductive for muscle gain. For example, according to studies, taking high doses of ibuprofen can affect muscle growth. Nevertheless, the same study showed that moderate doses of ibuprofen don’t affect muscle growth.

Further research may be necessary to understand the painkiller’s impact on muscle growth. Therefore, we recommend using painkillers as a last resort.

We hope these tips on how to relieve muscle soreness were helpful. If you want to learn more fitness and nutrition tips, please visit our Wellness Blog.

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