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How to Get Rid of Muscle Aches From Working Out

Studies attempting to identify the best ways to alleviate the muscle soreness that follow a strenuous workout are numerous, but to date, a therapy that consistently relieves delayed muscle soreness has yet to be found. Delayed muscle soreness begins 24 to 48 hours after an intense or unusual exercise session, and usually dissipates after 72 hours. There are a few therapies that offer some relief from muscle aches if you do them immediately following the exercise session.

  1. Apply ice as soon as possible following the event. Ice reduces swelling and eases the inflammation that may accompany your muscle soreness, reducing your level of pain.

  2. Stretch out those sore, tight muscles to lessen the aches and pains. Stretch to the point of mild discomfort, then stop, hold for 30 seconds and repeat three or four times. Bouncing or stretching a cold muscle can lead to injury, so warm up first, breathe deeply and perform static stretches. Make it a habit to always stretch each major muscle group immediately after strength training and vigorous exercise.

  3. Soak in a jetted hot tub, direct the jets at specific sore spots, sit back and let the heat and water penetrate to offer therapeutic benefits, alleviate tightness and soothe those aching muscles.

  4. Add 2 cups of Epsom salts to a hot bath to draw toxins from the body, sedate the nervous system, reduce swelling and relax the muscles. The benefits of Epsom salts have been known for years and they are the main ingredient in many of the fancy bath salts.

  5. Apply aromatic and analgesic balms to relieve pain by penetrating the skin and reducing muscular discomfort due to overexertion. The relief is temporary, but welcome.

    Tip

    Wait it out. In 72 hours, you’ll be able to do that exact same workout again, but without the resulting suffering, proving that you're already stronger. While sore, remember that your metabolism is cranking, meaning you’re burning more calories, and that soreness will be well worth it. Surprisingly, massage didn’t make the list of pain-relieving therapies. "A Queen’s University research team has blown open the myth that massage after exercise improves circulation to the muscle and assists in the removal of lactic acid and other waste products,” reports a May 8, 2009 issue of ScienceDaily. Scientists set out to discover if this untested hypothesis was true, and their results show that massage “actually impairs blood flow to the muscle after exercise, and that it therefore also impairs the removal of lactic acid from muscle after exercise.”

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Things Needed

  • Epsom salt

About the Author

Becky Miller, an ACE-certified personal trainer, has designed strength training programs for people of all ages and fitness levels since 2001. She specializes in empowering women of the baby-boomer generation. Her writing career began in 2004, authoring weekly fitness columns and feature articles for the "Navarre Press" in Florida. She earned her B.S. in business from the University of Colorado.

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