Sore muscles after a tough workout or dance class are unfortunately common. They are also a normal part of the training process. In this post, I would like to look at how to get rid of sore muscles.
Sometimes the soreness only hits a day or two later, and this type of soreness is called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
DOMS feels different from a pulled muscle or muscle sprain. These sore muscles are in response to an unusual type of exertion during an activity that the body isn’t used to, or maybe you have suddenly targeted a new muscle that hasn’t worked in that way for a while.
DOMS isn’t necessarily bad for us, as the process produces greater strength and stamina in the muscles over time. So your sore muscles are an indication that they are getting stronger, which is a good thing.
Warning: Don’t overdo it! Be sure that the muscle soreness is only moderate and that it has been caused by exercise, not by muscle overuse or injury.
What Is Adaptation?
Adaptation is the ability of the body’s muscles to adjust to your bodies changing physical demands. This process enables you to coordinate muscle movement and to develop sports skills. By repeatedly practicing the same physical activity, it becomes second-nature and easier to perform. Only in the early stages of the activity, when it is relatively new to you, does muscle soreness or DOMS usually occur.
What Causes Sore Muscles And DOMS?
Muscles experience physical stress when we exercise. Certain factors can challenge the adaption process, which can ultimately cause moderate muscle damage and soreness as opposed to unnecessary pain or injury.
These factors could include:
- Not warming up properly.
- Not cooling down and stretching after your training.
- Doing exercise that is too strenuous for your fitness level
- Exercising too hard at the beginning of your training program.
- Overtraining or overexerting yourself.
- Doing too much too quickly.
- Increased blood flow to the muscles during exercise can cause swelling and irritation muscles that are already sore.
Why Do Muscles Get Sore?
It is natural for your muscles to feel sore the next day after exercising, as you have put stress on them during exercise.
These sore muscles then need to recover to increase their endurance and strength. So basically, muscle recovery leads to improved muscle function. Let’s look at this process in greater detail.
By exercising hard, you stress your muscle tissue beyond what it is used to. Your muscles begin to burn, which indicates muscle damage. Because of this damage, your muscles feel sore the next day.
Muscle soreness is delayed because damage to the muscles consists of microscopic tears in the muscles after they have undergone lengthening (eccentric) contractions. Inflammation sets in after 24 to 48 hours, which then causes a sore feeling.
Muscle biopsies were taken immediately after physical exertion show disruption of z-band filaments holding the muscle fibers together as they slide over each other during a contraction. Next-day muscle soreness (DOMS) is solely caused by damage to the muscle fibers themselves.
It used to be thought that DOMS was caused by a build-up of lactic acid in the muscles, but lactic acid in the muscle’s tissue is completely washed out 30 to 60 minutes after physical activity.
Can You Prevent Sore Muscles?
You can only prevent sore muscles by doing everything at the same pace and intensity as you have always done it, which is not normal because muscles need to be stressed enough to strengthen them but not too much to cause them injury.
Normal healthy muscles need to be pushed through physical activity so if you’re looking to improve your performance or get fitter, faster and stronger, sore muscles cannot be prevented or avoided.
Here are some tips to get sore muscle relief and help you prevent, or at least minimize, the type of sore muscles that cause injury.
- Warm up properly before any physical activity.
- Gradually increase either the intensity or the duration of your workout, not both at once.
- Be aware of your fitness level and don’t overtrain, particularly in the early stages of any exercise routine.
- Use correct posture and positioning when exercising.
- Don’t increase both intensity and duration during the same week.
- Finish your exercise session with a thorough cool-down and stretch.
How To Get Rid Of Sore Muscles
The only “cure” for how to get rid of sore muscles is time. You can also try ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medication, massage, and heat treatment.
Here are some more ways to reduce sore muscles and get some relief;
- Wait for the muscles to heal before working at the same level that originally caused the muscle soreness.
- Move the sore muscles slowly and easily until they return to their normal state.
- Work below your previous intensity until their strength returns.
- Gradually warm up your muscles to increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles before you work them.
- Drink lots of water while exercising.
- Practice good nutrition and good dietary habits.
- Give your body time to recover properly so that it can adapt slowly to your improved levels of performance.
- Massage and foam rolling will reduce muscle soreness by stimulating the neutrophils (white blood cells that fight inflammation).
- Relaxing in the pool, a hot tub or a salt bath for 15 minutes will reduce muscle tension. Epsom salts can work miracles.
- Include regular flexibility training as part of your long term exercise program.
Don’t Stop Exercising
Sore muscles are a natural outcome for physical activity, particularly in the beginning stages of an exercise program.
Don’t give up exercising altogether just because you have sore muscles. Give your body time to recover and continue with your activity. By doing this, you are allowing your body to adapt to higher stress in a very healthy and natural way, which will lead to stronger muscles and greater fitness.