Hope everyone had a great time over the Holidays, but now it’s time to buckle down and see your goals through!
Inevitably, new workout routines will put extra stress on your body, leading to some initial muscle pain.
Take heart that it does get better when you keep a regular routine, and doesn’t happen anywhere near as often.
In the meantime, some of my favourite ways to relieve sore muscles are the following:
1- Stretching/Warm Up/Cool Down – One of the best ways to prevent most of the pain in the first place is to ensure a proper warmup, and to stretch.
Some dynamic (controlled, but moving) stretches and light cardio before your workout is the best bet, as well as good static(held/not moving) stretches afterwards. This can also help prevent many injuries!
2- Light workouts – Those initial workouts can really put the hurt on if you jump right into something over the top. While healing from that you can still work out, but keep it light.
Some fast walking or light jogging – yoga, pilates, or even just a weight routine focusing on the the parts of the body that aren’t hurting. A light workout will help circulate some blood through the area while you recuperate, and believe it or not, help ease muscle soreness.
3 – Massage and/or Foam Rolling – Massage is the obvious one. Like a light workout, it will help circulate some of the pooled blood in the muscle.
Foam rolling triggers a release of the tight muscle, when done correctly. Buy a good beginner’s roller, and have your personal trainer show you how to roll.
When buying, keep in mind that the more high density a foam roller is, the more aggressive it will be in attacking the tension. Beginners may want to go with a lower density roller until they get more accustomed.
You can also use foam rolling before and after a workout, as part of your regular warm up and cool down. This may prevent some of the soreness before it happens!
4 – Anti-inflammatory foods/drinks/medication – Natural watermelon juice and tart cherry juice have both recently come into the spotlight as excellent muscle pain relievers.
Don’t overdo it – just a small juice glass(6-8 oz) will do, and make sure it doesn’t have tons of added sugar, or other ingredients to muck up the works. The fruit itself may not be as concentrated, but certainly has potential to help.
Watermelon or cherry juice should be the first ingredient. At the very least, it should be the second ingredient, after water. If not, put it back on the shelf.
Coffee is another drink that may help in reasonable amounts. Again, don’t overdo it.
I rarely use any other pain reliever besides aspirin, but any anti-inflammatory pain reliever can help, as well.
5 – REST! – Sometimes, it’s just better to rest the painful areas. This doesn’t mean to lay around for days, doing nothing. You can still exercise other parts of your body, or do light stretches and walks until you’re feeling better. Completely skipping workouts is a good way to backslide in your motivation, so try to keep moving, one way or another.
However, be sure to get adequate sleep, and take care of the parts that hurt for a day or two. If you overdid it on squats one day, do upper body, calf, and/or core exercises in the meantime.
Remember that if you are in pain, LET YOUR PERSONAL TRAINER KNOW! You won’t be seen as “weak” or a complainer. Your trainer wants to help, not hurt you.
They are educated to help you work around the painful areas, can give you more pointers on how to handle the soreness, and if they know their stuff, will refer you to a doctor when it’s more than a little post-workout muscle pain.
Good luck with your resolutions and goals, everyone! You can do this!