Does this sound familiar to you? You do a killer routine, you’re feeling great afterwards, the next day you wake up, and the pain hits you. Post workout soreness. First, let’s determine that soreness is different from injury pain, and you should know the difference between the two. Pain is usually sudden and very sharp during execution of a movement. This is your body telling you to cease all movements, simply put, if it is hurting you and does not feel right, stop doing it. Often, injury pain may not go away. This is when you are advised to seek medical attention, as something could have been pulled or sprained. This happened to my cousin. She sprained her ankle during boot camp. The pain hit her suddenly and she sought immediate medical attention. Sure enough, the pain was caused by a sprained ankle. Now, with muscle soreness, you usually feel the pain a day after your workout session, thus making it a delayed reaction to your workout. The soreness does go away after a few days, and will eventually stop altogether once your muscles become accustomed to the movements. This is why many of the pros advise changing up your routine when your muscles become too accustomed to the movements. A little day after soreness is a good thing, and possibly is telling you that your muscles are shocked by something different and challenging and that is okay. When I returned from my vacation, I did an intense leg session. I did what I like to call “the big three”, squats, lunges and dead lifts, as well as leg extensions, hamstring curls and calf raises. These were done with high repetitions, five sets and very little rest between sets. I hadn’t done such a workout in a long while, so I was expecting soreness and was prepared with my home remedies. After my leg workout I felt on top of the world as I left the gym, and walked home basking in the glory of my post-workout feeling. The next morning however, I cannot say I was feeling on top of the world, it was more like the bottom of the barrel. However, it was a good pain. A soreness that told me I worked hard and my body was reacting in a positive way. The soreness in my glutes, thighs, calves and quads was intense. At the risk of giving too much information, let’s just say sitting on the throne was no fun, sitting down period was no fun. Andy had a good chuckle as I winced in pain when I sat down on the sofa with my “cringed-face look.” I walked around like a baby just taking her first steps for a little while. To sum it up, a little (or a lot in my case) soreness is natural, especially if it is the first time you are trying a new movement or just getting back into physical activity. Sudden, jarring pain, on the other hand, could mean injury and is not okay.
Here are my tips for alleviating soreness post workout that have helped me:
1. Prior to your workout warm up with a couple of minutes on a cardio machine. After your workout, give all the major muscles a good stretch
2. Take a warm bath in half a cup of Epsom salts. Soak in the tub for at least 20 minutes and allow the soothing properties of the salts to work their magic.
3. If pain is really intense, take an over the counter pain-killer before bed. I do this every now and again.
4. Rubs are good, but they only mask the pain for a little bit. You can liberally rub Ben gay or Lakota on the sore area before bed or while relaxing and watching TV to numb the soreness.
5. Take it easy. I cannot stress this enough. Do not attempt another workout until the soreness has subsided. You worked hard, and now your body needs to rest and recover.
6. Know the difference between pain and soreness and listen to your body’s signals.
What are your tips to soothe post workout soreness?