Here are 5 tips to help with muscle soreness and recovery:
Whether you’ve taken your workout routine to a new level or you are starting your fitness journey your body is probably going to be sore after. Sometimes for a few days and in places you may have never felt before. Here are a few things you can do post workout to help with muscle soreness and to speed up your recovery!
Take a cold shower
Really it works! Simply by taking a cold shower after your workout, you can help reduce soreness and inflammation from the workout. The colder it is the better! Any kind of exercise that causes your muscles to exert beyond their accustomed limits, such as a bootcamp class or a HIIT workout, leads to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers and inflammation in the connective tissue.
I’m sure you’ve heard of ice baths before, right?! Cold water therapy or immersion activates the body’s natural healing response and has been found to counteract the after-effects of high intensity workouts as it lowers the temperature of the damaged tissues and constricts the blood vessels. This helps with reducing swelling and inflammation. This is why you see a lot of athletes using pools, ice baths or the beach after a game.
Coldwater therapy can even provide long term changes to your body’s lymphatic, immune, circulatory, and digestive systems that enhance your overall quality of life!
Getting enough sleep but also high-quality sleep
Getting enough sleep is important but so is the QUALITY of the sleep you’re getting as well. If you want optimal results from your workouts, you need enough sleep! Even small changes can make a big difference. Here are a few ways to adjust your end of the day routine:
Start with getting a good mattress and a comfy bed.
Try to create a regular sleep schedule so that you always go to bed and wake up at around the same time.
Try to stay off your phone and other tablets an hour before bed. Stretch or read something instead so your eyes aren’t starring at your phones screen when you’re trying to alert your body its bedtime.
Studies have shown that being exposed to the blue and white light given off by electronic devices at night prevents our brains from releasing melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that sets the body’s circadian rhythm, the “clock” that helps control when you fall asleep and when you wake up. So, stay off your phone when you get into bed!
Foam Rolling & Trigger Point Therapy
Benefits of foam rolling and trigger point therapy:
Correction of muscle imbalances
Improved joint ROM (range of motion)
Improved muscular efficiency
Reduces soreness and improved tissue recovery
Suppression/reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain
Decreased neuromuscular hypertonicity
Provides optimal length-tension relationships
Decrease overall effects of stress on the human movement system
One of the easiest and most important ways to boost your recovery is to drink LOTS of water!!! Most people do not drink even close to enough water consistently. Our muscles are 75% water which makes sense why getting enough water is vital. So yes, it’s important to drink enough water during exercise, but it’s even more important to stay hydrated after workouts and daily. It helps with performance, cravings, cramping, feeling full longer, energy levels, and recovering muscles.
Working out consistently causes muscles to get stronger over time. It first breaks them down and then rebuilds them using muscle protein synthesis. This synthesis, however, is dependent on muscles being well hydrated. If you’re dehydrated post workout, the recovery will be slowed down and you will feel soreness and have inflammation longer. Bottom line, drink at minimum eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day at the very minimum.
Getting enough protein
Proteins are the primary structural components of cells. The primary function of the protein you consume is to build and repair cells, including the muscle cells damaged when exercising to the point of momentary failure. It is also a transporter of cells, serving as enzymes to support various physiological functions and acting as hormones. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
There are 20 amino acids. 4 are considered non-essential because the body can produce them and 9 are essential because they cannot be produced in the body. 8 amino acids are considered conditional, because they can become essential and must be consumed in your diet. Taking an amino acid intra (during) and post workout combined with a post workout snack or meal can increase protein synthesis. The body is constantly building new cells to replace old ones, and amino acids consumed in the diet support this process.
Adding in various post exercise recovery strategies can allow you to train at a higher volume and with higher intensity to reach strength or performance goals faster.
On average, protein should be 15-30% of your caloric daily intake. Lean meats, fish, eggs, chicken, or milk. Soy is the only form of plant-based protein that contains all 8 of the essential amino acids.