It’s inevitable that with any form of exercise, there is bound to be muscle soreness. Here are a few ways to soothe those sore muscles so you can keep moving towards your goals!
As the adage goes, “Hydration is key.” Start by hydrating before your workout, especially if you know you’re going to sweat a lot. Make sure you drink sips of water during your workout. And of course, make sure you hydrate after your workout. Hydration decreases cramping as well as inflammation, which is what causes soreness. Although sports drinks are marketed to help soreness, it’s always best to stick to water. If you do sweat a lot, you can add a drink, such as coconut water, that replaces electrolytes.
This one is pretty obvious, but nevertheless, it’s important. Studies have shown that stretching both pre and post-workout can aid in relieving soreness. It won’t take it away altogether, but it will help you feel less sore. Try to get to class early so you can do some gentle stretching. It’s important to keep this stretching light and easy, as your muscles are not yet warm. Imagine your muscles are like a cold rubber band. When rubber bands are cold, they are more likely to snap. Post-exercise, you can engage in deeper more intense stretching, as your muscles are warm. It’s best to hold your stretches until you feel your body start to relax into them. A good rule of thumb is to hold a stretch for about 45 seconds.
A little massage is always great for sore muscles. Foaming rolling and tennis balls can help you get deep into sore muscles. You can check out our foam roll article for tips on how to use these tools.
4. Epsom Salt Bath
If you’re feeling really sore, turn to an Epsom salt bath. Magnesium is the primary component of Epsom salt and can be absorbed through the skin. This mineral helps flush lactic acid build-up, which can occur after a workout. This lactic acid is one of the elements that causes soreness. Even if you don’t have Epsom salt, just taking a nice warm bath, can help loosen up those muscles. After you get out of the bath, since your muscles are warm, you can do some light stretching of the sore areas.
5. Keep Moving
As hard as it is to keep moving when you’re sore, it’s one of the best things you can do for your body. Even on your rest days, it’s important to do something that gets the blood flowing. You can go for a walk, a gentle bike ride, or take a Club Pilates Center + Balance class. Keeping the body moving will help your muscles recover faster and relieve soreness sooner.
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About the Author: McKenna McVicker is originally from Seattle, but has made her home down in California while pursuing her MBA at Chapman University. When she’s not taking a Pilates class, working or studying, she loves spending her time at Disneyland.