If you’re a fitness buff, you know exactly what that post-workout feeling is like. Those feel-good endorphins and dopamine are flowing through your body, and you feel strong for completing yet another workout circuit. Everything is great…except for the soreness. Though it’s a part of the process, it’s a part you wish you could skip — you want more of the feel-good chemicals released by your brain and less of the achy muscles.
It’s important to note that soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is totally normal for those who are on a new fitness journey or have recently increased the intensity of their workout routine. And while the aches you feel will fade over time as your body gets used to the increased activity, it’s understandable that you would want to speed up muscle recovery.
Luckily, that’s an attainable goal. Just follow a few simple tips, and watch your post-workout recovery time shrink.
Speed Up Muscle Recovery: 4 Helpful Tips
Sleep is such a powerful tool, combatting a wide variety of physical and mental ailments. So, it should come as no surprise that getting some shut-eye can also work to speed up recovery from DOMS. Aim for the recommended eight hours of sleep the night after a strenuous workout; your muscles will thank you in the morning.
Did you know that staying hydrated after a workout is a crucial key to repairing sore or damaged muscles?
When you sweat during a workout, your body is losing valuable electrolytes, and that contributes to the soreness you feel afterward. You’ll want to replace the fluid and electrolytes lost, so be sure to keep a bottle of water nearby during and after you’ve finished, and perhaps reach for an electrolyte-filled Gatorade, too. It’s also helpful to avoid sugary, salty, or caffeinated drinks, as they increase dehydration.
When you feel attacked by your achy muscles, take the time to stretch them out. Light exercise, like yoga or walking, for example, is a useful form of active recovery. Though it may be painful at first, your muscles will begin to feel relief as they get warm and the blood flows.
Another means of stretching out sore muscles is to pull out the handy foam roller. Foam rolling is a type of self-massage that helps you target specific problem areas, alleviate soreness, and reduce the inflammation that’s occurring as your muscles recover.
If DOMS has got you down, try a quick yoga flow on the MyLifeWell app. Unsure about yoga, or the app in general? Try it for three months free to see if it’s a good fit!
Last but certainly not least, being mindful of the food you eat is a good way to speed up muscle recovery.
Foods like bananas, eggs, cottage cheese, cherries, and salmon work wonders in minimizing post-workout pain.
If keeping track of the nutrients you’re eating is difficult for you to do, enlist the aid of the MyLifeWell app to make sure you’re getting enough of the good stuff and monitor your intake of the not-so-good-for-you foods.
Remember, the soreness you feel won’t last forever — it will fade as your body acclimates to the intensity of your workout. But until that day comes, treat your muscles well as they recover; you’ll be glad you did.