Many years ago I decided that I needed to start exercising again. Early one summer morning I put on my running shoes and went for a walk. 10 minutes later, I thought about upping the workout and started running.
The next day my calves were so sore I could barely walk! I was in agony!
Muscle soreness is known to cause many new athletes to stop exercising. And if I didn’t know better, I probably would have given up. My muscle soreness was due to my stupidity and could have been prevented.
And, no, not for not exercising!
Some experienced athletes will experience muscle soreness “the day after” from a different type of exercise or training. They feel muscles they never knew existed!
What is muscle pain?
It is usually caused by overload training. It is the small tear of the muscle fibers, which causes the release of the content of the muscle cells. The cellular content attracts inflammatory cells, which release chemicals that irritate nerve fibers and cause pain.
But “No pain, no gain”, right?
Wrong! Soreness is NOT an indicator of a good workout. Muscle damage is usually greater in older or more susceptible muscle fibers.
How do you relieve the pain?
Here are 8 ways:
1 – Massage the pain – Start slowly! Gently massage the sore muscle and gradually increase the depth of the massage. It may be painful at first, but it will gradually relieve muscle pain.
2 – Hot bath Eliminate muscle pain – There is nothing better than a long soak in a hot bath for muscle pain. The heat will increase circulation and provide a calming effect.
3 – Rinse away the pain – Run hot water (as hot as you can handle) over sore muscles for two minutes, then immediately switch to cold water for 30 seconds. Repeat this process five times. This has the effect of opening and closing the blood vessels, which will remove acid from the muscles and relieve pain. It’s easier to take a full shower and do this, but it takes some courage!
4 – Exercise gently to eliminate pain – Take a slow walk and take deep breaths. This helps reduce muscle pain by increasing blood flow to sore muscles.
Now that you know how to relieve muscle pain, I’m going to show you how to avoid pain. It is easier and less painful to avoid muscle pain. That is how:
5 – Warm-up before exercising: muscles are active parts and, like any other active part, they must be warmed up before anything is required of them. A warm-up before your workout is essential to avoid soreness, but more importantly to avoid injury. It initiates circulation to the muscles and warms up the muscles and tendons, preparing them for the next tip to prevent muscle soreness: stretching.
6 – Stretch those muscles: After warming up, it is necessary to stretch those muscles. It’s very easy to skip this step or do some rash stretches, but you’ll pay for it the next day or with an injury. If you’re going to walk or jog, you want to stretch your legs and back. If you’re doing an upper body workout, then you need to stretch your shoulders, neck, and upper back. Don’t bounce into the stretch and hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Stretch each muscle to where you start to feel the stretch, then hold that position until you feel the muscle release. Bouncing or trying to stretch too far will do more harm than good.
7 – Stretch after your workout – This is very important to avoid muscle soreness. After walking, jogging, or exercising, be sure to stretch your muscles for 15 to 20 seconds before they cool down. They will be warm and elastic so they will stretch well.
8 – Don’t be a hero – Going out and training hard may feel good at the time, but when you wake up with stiff and sore muscles the next day, you’ll be tempted to take the day off without exercising. You should start slowly, exercising within your ability. Make exercise enjoyable with moderate effort and only increase the intensity by a maximum of 10% week after week. This will allow your muscles time to adjust and prevent pain and injury.
The BIG trick is “Don’t do too much too fast!”