First off, before we get into some recovery methods to help alleviate that muscle soreness, let’s learn why our muscles become so sore.
Exercises have two parts. Concentric and eccentric.
In the concentric part of the workout, you are shortening your muscle as you raise/lift/flex.
In eccentric you are lowering/releasing and lengthening your muscle back out.
Now as you do this there is agonist and antagonist reaction of different muscle groups going on. The muscle that is contracting is called the agonist and the muscle that is relaxing or lengthening is called the antagonist.
So where do these sore muscles come from?
In the eccentric portion as you are relaxing your muscle from being squeezed together microscopic tears occur as you release the tension.
No need to be alarmed as long as you are properly performing exercises and not going overboard because that is when serious injuries can occur.
As those tiny muscle fibers repair themselves they rebuild and that is how we grow those muscles!
During your initial workout as you feel that burn in the middle of your set, that’s acute muscle soreness that is just temporary. The ache you feel hours later is the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Alright, so now what? How do we overcome those aches and soreness while our bodies repair and transform our muscles after a workout?
Give it time
There is no real way about it. We have to give those muscles a little break and relax while they regenerate.
That is why it is important to have days off from working out or working on a different muscle group. Give your body the time it needs to regenerate.
Keeping those muscles well-hydrated is important. We all should know this. Water is important overall for your entire body and health. The vast percentage of our body is made up of water.
Being dehydrated puts strain on all your body parts.
Movement. Now, this doesn’t mean get up and go crazy. Just some light movement to help get the blood flowing. As sore as you may be, laying down too long can be counterintuitive. Circulation of blood flow and oxygen getting to your muscles will help in the process of recovery. Simple things such as an easy walk or some light stretching.
Heat / Ice
Which is better? According to Healthline, it’s all up to what feels good for you. Icing a sore muscle can help reduce the swelling while heat can help reduce the tension.
Sometimes we overdo it. When going into a new exercise it is important to not do too much at first. Your goal should not be to feel sore after every workout. You should ease into a new exercise. So, instead of doing 4 sets of a particular exercise just do two sets so your muscle can slowly adjust and not be overly stressed when being activated. Doing too much at first will cause those muscles to become sore to the unfamiliar movement and will need more time to heal, which in turn, sets you back while recovering from those aches.
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