5 effective ways to ease sore muscles

September 9, 2014

After a really great workout on your TRUE M30 home elliptical machine or recumbent exercise bike, it’s normal for your muscles to feel pretty sore the next day. While it’s uncomfortable, this is actually a great sign that you’re building muscle. Being sore after exercise is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Your muscles need time to repair and come back stronger than ever. In order to reduce the burn of DOMS, experiment with these tactics:

1. Ice
Locate which muscles are sore, and use a cold pack on ice them. The ice can help to reduce pain and inflammation. If your entire body is sore, try an ice bath. This gives you the same effect of an ice pack, but helps diminish inflammation on the whole body. If you’re not quite ready for the shock of an ice bath, try swimming in a cold pool for five to 10 minutes after your workout.

2. Stretch
Help your muscles relax with a good stretch. It’s never good to be totally immobile the day after a workout, as this can cause your muscles to stiffen up and feel even more uncomfortable. Stretching can introduce more oxygen to your muscles, helping to increase the speed of your recovery process. Yoga can be great for helping your body feel limber – that light workout may be just what your muscles need. Here are a few stretches to try on your own:

Arms: Lock your hands together behind your back, then bend at the hips letting your arms come overhead. To stretch your triceps, raise one arm straight up above your head, then bend at the elbow so that your hand is touching the middle upper part of your back. Gently pull the elbow in with the other hand. Repeat this exercise on the other arm.

Legs: Stand with your feet together and slowly bend the top half of your body down to your feet. Make sure to relax your neck and let your head hang. This will offer a stretch to the back of your hamstrings.

Back: Lay on your back and bring your knees to your chest, rounding out your back. Bring your forehead to your knees and gently rock from side to side to help massage your spine.

3. Watch what you eat
What you eat can have a big impact on the way your body feels post-workout. Omega-3s have been shown to reduce inflammation and soreness after exercise. You can get your omega-3s with a fish oil supplement, or enjoy foods that are packed with omega-3s, such as spinach, nuts and salmon.

It’s also important that you give your muscles the protein they crave. Look for natural sources of protein like lean meats, lentils and quinoa.

4. Relax with a soak
Your muscles need a break, and so do you. Give yourself some time to soak in a warm bath – the temperatures will help to loosen up stiff muscles.

5. Massage with a roller
Another simple way to ease muscle soreness is with a foam roller. This tool can help increase the blood flow to your muscles so that they feel less sensitive after your workout. Figure out where you’re sore, whether it’s your legs, arms or back, and roll that body part over the foam about five to 10 times.

For instance, to stretch your back with the roller, you would sit on the floor with the foam just under your lower back. Place your fingers behind your head, then lean slowly roll your body so the foam moves to your upper back. Slowly move up and down to get a quick back massage. Make sure to keep your abs tight during the process.