We’ve all experienced that post-workout ache one or two days after an intense training session. It’s known as DOMS, which aptly stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. Some strive for that burn, believing it must be a sign that they’re getting fitter… right? But, while it does point to an increase in intensity, dealing with daily DOMS can be debilitating.
So, how do you ease the ache to avoid a break between training sessions? Here, we reveal five ways to soothe sore muscles and avoid injury…
Not only is caffeine the ultimate fuel for your day; it’s also said to reduce DOMS. According to a study in the Journal of Pain, drinking coffee pre-workout resulted in a 48% drop in DOMS for participating exercisers. Caffeine is a natural analgesic (pain reliever), which explains why you often find it in painkillers or flu medicines. Turns out, drinking that AM espresso could also work wonders at preparing your body for a tough session.
Take note, though: those involved in the study drank two cups of coffee one hour before their workout. Two cups is a lot of caffeine, so adjust based on what your body can take. If the buzz is too extreme, scale it back to one cup with a substantial meal or snack. It may reduce the pain-relieving powers, but it should keep any jitters at bay.
It goes without saying that you need to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. H20 contributes to better sleep, more energy, clearer skin, better digestion and so. much. more.
Water is also said to lubricate muscles, making movement easier. Plus, it’s thought to speed up recovery time by flushing pain-causing toxins out of your body. Drink up.
A massage is so much more than an indulgence. In fact, a 2015 study showed that massaged muscles contain more blood vessels than massage-free ones, which may result in improved post-fitness recovery.
Have one monthly to maintain muscle health and reduce DOMS (so you can hit your next workout so much harder). By booking massages with Artisan Sports Therapy, your personal trainer and sports therapist can work together to find a treatment that enhances the results of your fitness regimen.
When your body is cold, your muscles constrict, which can maximise any existing pain. That’s why a hot bath is often recommended to reduce body aches. To take it to the next level, sprinkle two cups of epsom salts into a tub of warm water, ensuring you pour it under a running tap to help the salts dissolve faster.
It’s believed that, because epsom salts are a rich source of soothing magnesium, they may eke out pain and dial down DOMS, so you won’t be wincing as you walk. However, there’s not yet scientific evidence to confirm a link between epsom salts and relaxed muscles. Simply take it as a good excuse for a long post-workout soak.
Prioritise a good night’s sleep post-workout – and every day, if you can. This allows your body to recover and recuperate, so muscle micro-tears have time to repair. It’s these tiny tears that cause your body to feel sore after a particularly hardcore session. By getting at least seven or eight hours of rest, you can regenerate – ready for your next PT appointment.
Up next: discover how exercise improves your mental health. Plus, read up on why protein is essential for enhancing your workout.