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Don’t Let Being Sore Wreck Your Fitness Routine
Being sore can totally wreck a new dedication to midlife health and fitness. We are so proud of ourselves on that first day after we’ve gotten in that workout. But by that night or the next morning you may ache so bad that it is almost impossible to walk down stairs or sit on the toilet. Especially if you haven’t used those particular muscles in a while. Been there, done that many times.
For the new fitness person, this feeling may stop you in your tracks and make you quit immediately. But being sore is part of the game and something you have to work through to get to the other side. It doesn’t last, but I’ve got some things you can do to help ease the soreness or make it pass more quickly. Just don’t give up.
So what causes soreness? “DOMS” or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to. Small microscopic tears occur in the muscle. But it is completely normal and nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s needed for muscle growth, since muscle is built back stronger during the muscle repair process.
The good news? Soreness hits it’s peak at 24-72 hours and diminishes. Soreness will become less and less the longer you continue an activity.
While nothing helps this muscle repair and build more than time, there are a whole host of things that are recommended for easing the pain you may be having. I am listing my 6 favorites, the ones I use myself.
A foam roller is a long cylinder foam tool used to increase blood flow to the muscles through applied pressure to flush out toxins. You use it by putting it on the floor under the sore muscle and then slowly rolling over the sore spot. By slowing rolling over areas of tension, you help release tight muscles and speed up the healing and recovery process. Foam rollers are available at most sports stores or you can check them out at this link at Amazon. Also note that tennis balls are good for use in places where the foam roller doesn’t.
When you create micro-tears in your muscle it is obvious that you need protein to help repair and build back that muscle. That is the main job of protein. But getting some protein isn’t an automatic for people when they finish a workout, but it is crucial when an hour after activity. Lean meat, quinoa, avocado, dark leafy greens are great things to eat or you can grab a quick chocolate milk or protein shake of your choice if you can’t get somewhere to eat right away.
This is always the first thing I tell people to do when I feel they may get sore after a workout. Dehydration is the enemy of muscle recovery. In order to flush all of the damaged muscle tissue, you need fluid moving through. While hydrating during the workout is important, so is in the hours after a workout.
You may think the last thing you want to do when you are sore is to move, but light exercise helps to elevate the pain of soreness. Research shows that light activity helps keep the blood circulating and speeds up the body’s ability to drain waste and chemicals. Try some easy walking, cycling, or yoga. Or you can workout another part of your body or other muscles instead.
Compression garments also go a long way to help in recovery. Wearing compression socks or arm sleeves after a workout helps get the blood flow moving and eases swelling. The compression holds the muscles in place and supports the underlying tissue.
CBD ointment & creams have shown big benefits in reducing the pain of exercise-induced inflammation and helps with a faster recovery. CBD is a potent antioxidant, meaning it can slow cell damage and prevent inflammation. Plus many times it is loaded with other discomfort or post-inflammation reducing ingredients that provide an all-around soothing effect and pain relief, such as menthol and eucalyptus.
Being sore happens to everyone and more than once. Just know that it is going to happen and take all the steps to keep it from being so severe. Always remember to do a dynamic warm up at the beginning of a workout and stretch at the end. Get your sleep so that you can recover. Eat right and get all of the macro and micro nutrients that you need while exercising. And most important, remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it. So know that if you are sore and then wait too long to work out that muscle group again, you are going to be sore again.
LISTEN to the DOMS Episode on Redesigning Midlife