The older I get, the more I feel like every day I’m starting out with a hangover. Without having had a drop to drink the night before. Troubling, right? Those daily aches and pains I’m experiencing aren’t from a hangover, though. That’s just my body telling me it’s sore from all the physical activities I put it through the day before. If you’re like me and constantly feeling stiff every day, find out how to relieve sore muscles now with these tips and tricks!
What Causes Muscle Soreness
There are three general reasons that lead to muscle soreness. These include:
- injury to some part of the body
- viral infections
Let’s take a look at how the pan out.
The body has its limits, and we sometimes push our bodies past their limits.
Especially for those just getting into an exercise routine after a long hiatus, it’s easy to work well beyond what our bodies are used to. This stress takes its toll.
There are other ways we push our bodies too much, such as:
- mental stress
- sleep deficiency
- nutritional deficiency
- intense physical exertion
We have to listen to our bodies, and offer them what they need, and only what they can handle.
This is a direct cause and effect scenario.
When trauma occurs to a part of the body, the tissue is damaged and pain is induced by nerve receptors as a warning.
In the case of minor injuries like a bruise or sprain, only time will heal the wounds. Get plenty of rest, and take some over-the-counter pain relievers if needed.
In more serious strains, when movement becomes difficult, more attention is needed. Consult a physical therapist for possible routines to aid the body during its healing.
Sometimes the muscle soreness is a symptom of a medical issue. Some possible causes could be:
- chronic fatigue
- Lyme disease
- multiple sclerosis
If this is the case, consult a doctor for their recommended treatment options.
Tips on How to Relieve Sore Muscles
For general muscle aches caused by everyday activities, there are plenty of techniques and tips you can follow to relieve the aches and pain.
Whether it’s from your workouts in the gym or your job with strenuous physical activities, follow these top tips to get relief fast.
Getting a full, moderate warm-up before any physical activity is a good way to stay limber.
It gets the blood flowing, which increases the needed oxygen and nutrient supply to your muscle tissue. Also, it will help flush out the unwanted acids and waste byproducts that otherwise cause soreness.
For a proper warm-up, you want to be at about 50-60% of your target maximum heart rate.
The goal of a warm-up isn’t to tire yourself out; rather, it’s to wake you up. Once you’re primed and ready, then your body will be able to handle the intensity of whatever workout you have planned.
Warm-ups can range from mornings walks, dancing to your favorite tunes, or light cardio on a machine of your preference.
2. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
Next to warming up, stretching is your best defense to reduce muscle soreness.
When we exert our muscle tissue, the fibers bunch up and cause constriction. All this dense compaction causes additional stress on the body, increasing the aches and pains you experience.
Stretching forces those muscle fibers to elongate, aiding in recovery.
You should stretch before, during, and after your physical activities. Take advantage of every opportunity to offer your muscles some relief from their exertion and flush out the unwanted wastes, like lactic acids.
There are tons of different stretches you can learn to get you started. From foam rollers to deep-tissue massages, there’s an option to reach every nook and cranny.
Check out our top 5 stretches to help reduce muscle soreness.
3. Ice Down
Inflammation sets in pretty quickly after strenuous physical labor. It’s a primitive defense mechanism that can help out in the wild, but it’s a bit much when we’re just chilling at home after a workout.
To prevent this, we can manipulate our body’s natural temperature regulation system in our favor.
Right after your workout, jump into an ice bath. The cold temperature will slow down your normal bodily functions, and reduce inflammation so that you still have some mobility. That movement helps your body to recover a bit faster.
4. Heat Up
After—and only after—your body has the chance to cool off, applying heat can help immensely to ease muscle aches and pains.
Like a warm-up, heating pads or hot water baths get the blood pumping again. This increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients that the damaged tissue will need to repair itself after strenuous exercise.
It’s imperative to do this a few hours after, as introducing heat too soon will actually increase the inflammation in your muscle tissue.
5. Active Recovery
Staying active after physical labor might seem counter-intuitive, but it helps keep your body loose and limber.
The goal here is to stay around 40% of your maximum heart rate.
Yoga is a great way to achieve this, as the routine poses will lull your mind and body into an active recovery state. There are plenty of courses you can check out to find a style of yoga that appeals to you.
Now You Know!
Finding relief for general aches and pains caused by physical labor is pretty simple, but it does require persistence. Follow these steps every day and you should be seeing and feeling changes in your recovery soon. Take this information with you the next time you’re wondering how to relieve sore muscles.
Also, take a look at our health and exercise column for more fitness advice.
And remember, stay hydrated!