When it comes to fitness, you may have heard the maxim, “no pain, no gain.” It is fairly common knowledge that to acquire gains in the gym, you need to break down your muscles through working out then allowing them to recover, stronger than before. Because of this, you will almost certainly be sore after any worthwhile workout. Some use this as an indication of progress. As long as you hit that “good” level of sore, that means you’re doing something right. But your life goes on after you leave the gym, and for many, that soreness can become distracting and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. As it turns out, there are steps you can take to sooth the discomfort that comes after a good workout.
What you are consuming before, during, and after workouts has great significance on how effective your benefits will be. A preferred protein shake is standard enough, but it is also essential to make sure you keep hydrated over the course of the exercise. Your body will naturally need more water and electrolytes during heightened physical activity, and dehydration will delay your natural recovery process.
Soreness is brought on by inflammation to the muscles. Certain foods have anti-inflammatory properties, which include almonds, walnuts, pineapple, cherries, and foods rich in Omega-3 fish oils. The timing of your snack/meal after your workout is also important. Right after your workout, your body is in a state of heightened preparation to receive nutrients.
Massage is an excellent way of promoting circulation, inducing relaxation to the muscles, and reducing tension and stiffness. Not everyone may have access to massage sessions by a licensed therapist, but there are means of applying self-massage (sometimes referred to as self-myofascial release, or SMR). One highly recommended implement is a foam roller. These can be found at most gyms and fitness stores, and they come in a variety of configurations. But typically, it is a log of an industrial foam-like substance, about the same length and diameter as a rolled up yoga mat. The foam roller is generally placed on the ground, and then you roll yourself back and forth on the roller focusing contact with any sore or stiff areas for about a minute at a time. This is an effective means of massaging yourself and enabling recovery even faster. A fitness professional can give further advice on optimal positions to use your foam roller with.
Habits and Lifestyle
Your gains aren’t just cranked out inside the gym, exclusively. What you do outside has a lot of bearing on how quickly you will recover. One aspect highly overlooked by many is how much sleep you are getting. Trying to navigate an average day with too little sleep is hard enough. But your body actually requires an adequate amount to heal itself after a serious gym session. More than simple rest, your body secretes anabolic (muscle-building) hormones during sleep that are vital to muscular recovery. Skimping on sleep will set your recovery times back considerably.
Stress from your personal obligations can adversely affect your body, including its capacity to heal itself after a workout. Clearly, there is no avoiding certain deadlines and responsibilities in your everyday life. But making it a point to engage in enjoyable activities and ensuring that your mental health is being looked after will go a long way in reducing stress and helping the body to relieve tension and pain.
Working out to improve your body and your health can be a very cyclical process. Exerting yourself and experiencing the fatigue and soreness that comes with that is a necessary requirement to bring out the best of any exercise. But incorporating this level of fitness into your lifestyle does not mean subjecting yourself to constant cramping and discomfort. Treat your body right, and the gains will come on much easier.