How to Heal Sore Muscles After a Workout
After you've finished a workout, you may feel pain or tenderness in your muscles. This is completely normal. When you do strenuous exercise, the muscle tissue will stretch, which may make some areas of your body sore. Instead of ignoring the pain, treat your muscles with care. By allowing your muscles a chance to rest and repair themselves before stressing them again, you will prevent sprains, strains and other potentially serious injuries. Talk to your doctor before starting a new workout routine, especially if you have injuries or health conditions.
Eat a small protein-filled snack about 15 minutes after your workout. Eating protein will help rebuild the cells in your muscles, which will help your body repair sore muscles quicker. Eat a bagel with peanut butter on top or a handful of almonds to replenish your body.
Rest your muscles. If muscle pain begins while you are exercising, stop. You have probably strained or sprained a muscle. If muscle soreness comes after you exercise, avoid strenuous physical activities until the pain subsides.
Place an ice pack on your sore muscles for 15 minutes, three times a day. An ice pack will reduce swelling and numb pain. If you don't have an ice pack, use a bag of frozen peas or a handful of ice cubes wrapped in a towel.
Stretch your muscles very gently. Although stretching may reduce soreness, stretching too aggressively may aggravate the muscle even more. If you have pain in the hamstrings or calf muscles, carefully place the arch of your foot in the center of a towel and hold onto the two ends of the towel with your hands to make a stirrup. Carefully strengthen your knee and pull on the towel with both hands to stretch the leg muscles.
Elevate the sore area above the level of your heart to reduce pain and swelling. Place your foot, arm or other sore body part on a pillow while you are sitting or reclining.
Wear comfortable clothing and supportive shoes while stretching to prevent injury.
Consult your doctor if you have severe muscle pain or if your sore muscles are accompanied by any additional symptoms.
- Health Services at Columbia, Go Ask Alice: Muscle Soreness and Weightlifting
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies; Deborah Tkac
Megan Smith has been a freelance writer and editor since 2006. She writes about health, fitness, travel, beauty and grooming topics for various print and Internet publications. Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from New York University.