So you’ve just completed another tough session at Glen Iris Goodlife. You stumble out of the gym looking like a new born giraffe takings it’s first few steps. Your back is cooked, but no back pain, you arms feel heavy, but no shoulder pain…how good is this, your Osteopath would be proud!? You maxed out on every squat and pushed your burpee’s till you had no more. Every muscle in your body burns, but how good does it feel.  Your endorphins are flowing and your euphoria is at an all time high… but then you remember your last session like this, the pain of the session seemed to last for days. That cant walk, cant lift you arms to brush your teeth feeling OUCH. So what can you do to try and reduce this pain and soreness post work out?

Here are some tips to try and sooth your muscles and aid in your recovery process. 

1) TURN YOUR SHOWER INTO TORTURE:  

Yep thats right, crank the cold water, take some deep breathes and work through the shock! As COLD as you can tolerate for 20-30 seconds.. then crank the hot water as hot as you can handle ( please don’t burn yourself!) for 20 to 30 seconds alternating about 10 times. Each time trying to increase the intensity of the hot or cold.  This hot / cold therapy is thought to act like an external ‘pumping’ of the blood by cooling muscles (pushing blood out) and then heating muscles (pulling blood back in). This should bring fresh blood and nutrients into the muscles for quicker recovery. 

2) DON’T SKIP THE STRETCHING :

If you are like most, after a tough session all you want to do is head straight for the couch and relax.  But spending time stretching and mobilising will certain pay off in the next few days. It may not feel like it’s doing you good at the time, hey it may even hurt a little. But a little pain now, will pay off in the coming days. Foam rolling is a great way to relieve muscular tension, enhance your flexibility, range of motion and improves blood circulation. By allocating time in your program to stretch afterwards you are more likely to do it.  If you don’t plan for it, you are more likely to skip it.

3) EATING POTASSIUM RICH FOODS:

After a tough session, your potassium levels will no doubt be low. Other minerals such as calcium and sodium will also need to be replaced. A trusty BANANA we find is the simplest, cleanest and easiest  post work out snack to incorporate into your work out routine.  Another option would be tart cherry juice. A study  has shown that drinking this stuff post exercise may reduce your muscle soreness. The thinking is it may be due to the high poly phenolic compounds ( Flavanoids and anthocyanin – think Anti-inflammatory and antioxidants) It’s certainly not the greatest tasting, but worth a try!

 

4) SOAK IN A HOT BATH:

OK, so freezing yourself in the shower is not your thing, you can opt for a hot bath. Certainly not directly after your session but a few hours later may help soothe your muscle aches, cramps and pains. It will also improve your circulation, and relaxes the mind and body. Adding additional, salts such as Epsom salt may also help. Why? It contains Magnesium Sulfate  a natural muscle relaxant in the body. So next time you are sore, add a couple of cups of Epsom salt to your bath… lie back and relax.. you can dream about your next heavy session!

5) KEEP MOVING:

WHAT? Ive just completed a massive work out and now I’m telling you to do more? YES.. although it needs to be light and gentle. Take a light walk, go for a gentle swim, turn your legs over on a bike. Activating the muscles you have just used at a decreased intensity can help flush out the metabolites such as lactic acid and promote good blood flow with fresh nutrients..

Use this on your rest days as well. Rather than having a complete rest day after a long or hard workout you can use active recovery. It is common to feel sluggish and sore the day after your workout. But unless you have sustained an injury, it’s a great idea to keep moving. Mobilisation of the joints, stimulating blood flow, will all help. Remember, this is meant to be LIGHT and should not challenge your sore muscles.

Remember, post exercise soreness is a natural part of the training cycle. That being said, any pain or soreness that stops you from your carrying out your normal daily routine, is associated with sharp hot pain or you experience any numbness or tingling should probably be investigated by your health care provider.