We all face muscle pain after a workout session. Be it an intense session or not. When you work out after a break or more than your muscles are used to, they believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers, resulting in muscle soreness or fatigue.
Muscle soreness is considered to be a good sign as it depicts that the muscle has been worked upon properly. Do not worry if its normal muscle soreness that occurs after working out. If the pain prolongs, you should consult your trainer or physician.
Why does your muscle hurt after a workout?
When you work out differently than your muscles are usually used to, the trend to tear and ache more. The tiny injuries in the muscle fiber and connective tissue are what cause the pain. This condition is known as DMOS (Delayed onset muscle soreness). The condition usually means that the muscle is getting stronger and is gaining strength. You need to understand your body before you work out, you do not just go and work out one day and increase the weight the next day, and this takes time and transition. Everything you do with your body takes its due time. Do not push your limits at the risk of injuring the muscle or rupturing it. Take it slow and steady.
How long is muscle pain supposed to last?
As we have discussed previously that you should train a single muscle once a week (how often should you train). That makes it clear that muscle pain lasts for a week, at least for one single muscle. The big muscles may take some time in healing but the secondary muscles won't take much time. We have all been there with sore legs and arms don't worry! Even the bodybuilders get them.
Ease those aching muscles
If you are working out for the first time or after a gap then take it easy for the first few days, let your body adapt the changes that are being brought upon it. Meanwhile, you can try some light exercise such as swimming and walking. Keeping the muscle in motion can also provide relief. It is probably the best idea to have a cool-down phase after a workout. After finishing your workout, include a 10 minute cool down session by incorporating some light cardio such as light jogging followed by stretching.
Heat bags were also researched for treating sore muscles. Keeping a heating bag/pad on the acing muscle relieves pain and soothes your body.
It is always a good idea to take measures that can be taken to relax your body. After all, working out is no joke!
Tips to relieve muscle pain and soreness
Jump into an ice bath
Almost every gym has the facility to bathe. Jump in for an ice-cold soak for good ten minutes after work out. Research shows that cold baths tend to significantly reduce muscle pain after workout.
Tip: Cover yourself properly after the ice bath or you are most likely to catch a cold.
Heat your body later in the day
Later in the day, let us say after a few hours of working out, apply a heating pad or bag on your sore muscles. For some people, muscle tightness is a source of pain, when you apply heat, muscles tend to relax and get back to normal quickly.
Get yourself a Massage
We all love massages, well now you have an excuse to get one! Give those muscles a treat and get a hot oil massage. Muscle oils are also available to soothe you. Peppermint and Mustard oil have proven to be the best oils for muscle aches. Massage your muscles gently with the oil, (Tip: Heating the oil makes it easier for your body to absorb the oil).
For years, stretching has proven to be the best remedy for a lot of problems. Be it aching muscles or just a relaxing session after the workout, stretching comes to the rescue. Do not underestimate the power of stretching and stretch yourself for good 10-15 minutes after the workout. It will help your muscles grow and also relax at the same time.
A good full-body stretch gives your muscles a break from all the strenuous exercise they gave been doing. Remember, working out is fine but your muscles need rest and nourishment too, do not neglect that at all!
One of the biggest mistakes we make as athletes or gym goers is that we let our body lose if the muscles ache. This is not how it should be done. When your muscles are sore, you should still go to the gym and follow a light routine. The rhythm needs to be maintained and the show must go on!
Light exercise would help your muscles adapt the change easily and stick to it too. You can opt for a light jog instead of running on the treadmill. Or you can go for lesser repetitions the next day.
Believe it or not, but half of your body related problems can be solved if you are properly hydrated. Similar is the case with workouts, hydration is a very important factor when it comes to your workout routine. You need to be hydrated before, during and after your work out. Proper hydration decreases cramping and inflammation. Hydration is most important in summers since you are working out in hot weather, so you need to fuel up.
Tip: Do not drink too much water at once during the work out; just take a sip after every sip and you re good to go!
Work out with the correct form
We have stressed the exercise form multiple times, that's how important it is. Working out with the correct form has a connection with almost everything you do in the gym. Muscle soreness is one thing but if you're working out with the wrong form throughout, your muscle might feel extra pain and stay sore for a longer time. Make sure your form is correct, don't rush into the workout, learn the form and practice it, once you have perfected it, increase the reps!
Take proper rest
Sleep in! Yes, that's what you do when your muscles ache, you would want to curl up in bed with a hot water bottle. Make yourself comfortable and rest in properly. You need a good 7-8 hour sleep before you start your workout or day, if you're working out at night, make sure you sleep early and get proper rest. It will help your muscles rest and recharge at the same time.
If muscle soreness lasts longer and does not heal even after a week or 10 days, you should consult a sports medicine expert. They can guide you where you went wrong and what should be done next to prevent it in the future. Working out is a very healthy habit but you need to stay safe and vigilant while doing it.
Pro Tip: Make sure you cover up yourself really when leaving the gym! Half of the muscle pain can be healed by keeping yourself warm.