Working out makes you feel better. It tones muscles, helps you to maintain your weight, and allows you to deal with those oh-so-common stresses that you experience each day. However, despite the benefits of getting fit, there are some drawbacks to working out, too. Your muscles can get really sore, especially after a hard workout. Muscle soreness arises from the small tears that are the result of a very strenuous workout. The achy-ness serves a purpose. It’s nature’s way of getting you to take it easy after a workout. This ensures that your muscles don’t become injured from overuse. Fortunately, many simple remedies exist that help with how to relieve muscles post workout. Here’s a look at four of them.
1. Be Sure to Stretch
Everyday Health cites stretching as one of the most important things you can do to prevent injuries during a workout. However, did you know that stretching and other mild exercises also help to relieve post-workout aches and pains? Doing some yoga or taking a slow walk loosens tight muscles and keeps the blood flowing so that muscles can heal.
2. Take a Pain Reliever
Sometimes, the best remedy for sore muscles comes in a small box. According to Live Strong, the best pain-reliever choices after your workout are acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Some over-the-counter remedies will also help with the inflammation that follows a strenuous workout. You get a bonus point for downing your pain relievers with a lot of water, which also helps you to recover by rehydrating your muscles. However, despite the good that these pain relievers can bring to the muscles, exercisers should not to take too much of the ibuprofen. It can irritate your stomach.
3. Soak in a Hot Tub
Hydrotherapy has been around for thousands of years. One only needs to look to the therapeutic baths in cities like Baden Baden, Germany to see how enamored people are with taking a dip to relieve aches and pains. It seems that nowadays, doctors and scientists agree with the ancients. Hydrotherapy is good for you!
Also, recent scientific studies have shown that hydrotherapy can alleviate the challenges caused by joint pain and high blood pressure—it is also pretty helpful when it comes to sore muscle relief. If your muscles are particularly achy after a workout, you might try a dip in a hot tub.
One final note about this: Be sure to bring a bottle of water in with you to help you replenish the liquids you lost during your workout.
4. Get a Massage
Sore muscles love a good rub. A trip to the massage therapist can help counteract some of the stiffness and soreness that follows a workout. However, if you can’t make it to the massage therapist’s table, you’ll still get benefits from rubbing out your own achy muscles. The advantage to doing it yourself lies in your ability to control the pressure exerted on the muscles. A foam roller or a hand-held electric massager can help with the process, too.
A powerful workout causes sore muscles. Taking some hydro- or massage therapy can counteract some of the soreness caused by working out. Preventative measures like stretching also prevent injuries during and after a workout, while an over-the-counter painkiller can knock back the pain in your muscles for a time. Finally, remember that your sore muscles serve as a reminder to take care of yourself following a workout. If you don’t, a more serious injury can result from the overuse of sore and tired muscles.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. Follow her on Twitter.