Post workout soreness can definitely be rewarding and make you feel like you accomplished something during your workout. That being said, it can also leave you feeling stiff and less than excited to get back in the gym the days following.
Being too sore from your workouts can lessen your range of motion and decrease performance, making the exercise less effective and put you at greater risk for injury.
Taking simple, but effective measures for both preventing and relieving your soreness will help you better increase your work-load and progress your form.
What causes soreness after a workout anyways?
Despite popular belief, your level of soreness is not a reflection of how beneficial your workout is. There are a few reasons people experience post workout soreness, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness soreness (DOMS). DOMS usually begins 24 to 72 hours after an unadapted bout of exercise. Workouts that have a high emphasis on the eccentric contraction will produce more DOMS. There are two main culprits to blame for DOMS:
- Micro-trauma (small tears) to the individual muscle cells.
- The body’s natural and innate inflammatory healing process.
Try these three safe and effective methods for both relieving and preventing soreness.
Myofascial release is manual modality that stimulates the nervous system to activate and effectively relax a muscle. Possibly the most commonly known form of myofascial release would be a massage. Lucky for us, there are more time effective ways to treat DOMS on a daily basis. Self myofascial release is when you manipulate and release the tension in your fascia (muscles and surrounding connective tissues) using one’s own hands, or one of several tools that are made for this specific job:
Myofascial release is a great warm up to working out so that you can activate the muscle group you intend to exercise as well as increase blood flow to it. It is also a remedy to already sore muscles. By causing the opposing muscle to contract, it forces the muscle itself to loosen through a process called reciprocal inhibition.
A good rule of thumb is thirty minutes to two minutes per muscle as needed.
Making sure you are getting the correct micronutrients
We can never stress enough what a huge roll our diet plays, not just in our results but in our ability to perform. A couple key micronutrients to consider when combating DOMS are:
Magnesium, a great regulator of muscle contractions and neuromuscular signaling. It also aids in the transportation of both potassium and calcium, two other important micronutrients to help with muscle soreness from workouts. The recommended daily dose of magnesium for adults according to the National Institute of Health ranges from 310-420 mg depending on age and gender. Foods such as spinach and potatoes are also high in potassium and calcium.
Branch chain amino acids are the specific amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine in a ratio of roughly 2:1:1 respectively. Studies continue to show that BCAAs are great preventatives to soreness caused by exercise. BCAAs result in an increase in protein synthesis and may aid in lowering the amount of accumulated muscle damage that often comes along with an intense workout.
That’s right, sleep is arguably the most important factors in recovery. More healing and recovery take place in the body while we are sleeping than any other time during the day. Most people are familiar with REM sleep but there is another form of sleep waves that is far more regenerative. Slow sleep waves of SWS is critical for things like fat loss, immune health, and recovery. Ideally 20% of our sleep would be spent in deep sleep however most people spent as little as 0% of their sleep is SWS. Ways to increase slow sleep waves include:
- Less stress
- CBD Oil
- Addressing vitamin deficiencies including Vitamin A, B6 and D3.
- Magnesium before bed.
The bottom line is, there is no reason to be sore all of the time. Besides being uncomfortable, it can cause you to make poor movement patterns and keep you out of the gym longer than necessary. Taking these small but effective effects will help you obtain the most out of your workout and feeling good enough to actually enjoy the benefits.