How to Deal With Sore Muscles After Exercise


by Adam Torkildson

Have you ever awakened in the morning with pain in some part of your body? You have no idea why your right arm and shoulder hurts. Then you remember that you played tennis with your college roommate that came to town 2 days ago.

Wow, that was so much fun, but you haven’t played tennis in years. But why is it hurting now? You’ve been fine and even felt invigorated after playing.

This describes the classic pattern of sore muscles. Keep reading to learn what causes muscle soreness to occur. You will also learn how to deal with sore muscles.

What Happens in the Muscles During Exercise?

Learning what happens to muscles during exercise helps understand why muscles hurt later. Glucose and sugar, in the form of glycogen, provide energy to contract and move muscles.

The body also uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the primary carrier of energy in all living organisms on earth. ATP breaks down through hydrolysis when the cell uses it for energy.

Without ATP, cells could not transfer energy from one place to the other. The body only stores small amounts of glucose and ATP. Once the supply gets used up, the body needs extra oxygen to make more ATP.

More blood goes to the exercising muscles because red blood cells carry oxygen. If enough oxygen isn’t delivered to the muscle in time, lactic acid forms. It often takes 30 to 60 minutes for lactic acid to flush out of the body after you finish exercising.

Tiny tears in the muscles occur which helps the muscles get bigger and stronger as they heal. Both lactic acid build-up and these tiny tears result in soreness that lasts a couple of days.  Have you heard the phrase, “No pain, no gain”?

What Causes Sore Muscles?

Sore muscles, also called muscle fever. This describes the muscle pain felt by almost everyone after intense or new exercise. This occurs one to two days after the exercise.

This late onset of symptoms is also known as delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. Some people mistake this for muscle strain or an actual injury.

DOMS describes muscle soreness and weakness and often occurs after sleeping. If you repeat the same workout a few days later, the soreness will not be as bad. Don’t let muscle soreness discourage you from exercising.

As you continue to exercise the soreness will stop and you will be stronger. Anytime you stop exercising for a while, get ready for the soreness when you restart. As Nike® says, “Just Do It”.

Ways to Help Prevent DOMS

There are several things you can do to help decrease sore muscles after exercise.

Stretching

Before you begin your workout, gently stretch your muscles.

You can do leg swings, gentle walking lunges, and gentle squats. You can also sit on the ground and stretch toward your feet with your legs together. Then open to a straddle and stretch toward each leg and to the center.

For upper body stretches, swing your arms in all directions. If you have a buddy, have them pull your arms gently to the back toward each other. Also, with your arm up beside your head, grab your elbow and stretch it behind your head.

For core warm-up, bend your upper body and hold and relax into each direction. Then twist your torso as far as you can both directions.

When stretching, make sure you are relaxing into the stretch. This allows muscles and connective tissue to relax and warm up and lengthen.

Now Warm-Up

You need to warm your muscles before beginning any exercise, especially weight training. Loading your muscles without preparation increases your chances of severe DOMS. You also increase your risk of pulling or tearing a tendon, ligament, or muscle during the workout.

Include some cardio like running, fast walking, jumping jacks, jump rope, or other exercises that increase your heart rate and respiration. This gets more oxygen flowing to your muscles to decrease the production of lactic acid.

Strategies for How to Deal with Sore Muscles

Many different remedies are often offered to resolve sore muscles. Muscle massage, for example, has not proven effective on a reliable basis. However, gentle massaging of the muscles may offer some relief and won’t cause harm.

Here are some other methods for relieving sore muscles.

Anti-inflammatories

If the pain interferes with your daily activity, you can try anti-inflammatory medications. Be sure that you eat something when you take the medicine to protect the lining of your stomach. Drink plenty of water to help your liver and kidneys process the medication.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking water will help to flush out the lactic acid. This will help relieve muscle pain. You should drink water before, during, and after your exercise sessions. This helps prevent the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.

Exercise

Exercise provides the greatest relief during DOMS. Athletes who train every day should decrease the intensity and length of exercise sessions for 1 to 2 days while experiencing intense DOMS. You can also target a different part of your body to allow the sore muscles to recover.

Slowly begin new activities over a period of 1 or 2 weeks to decrease DOMS.

Kratom for Pain Relief

Some individuals recommend using kratom to ease pain and provide energy. Kratom is a plant called mitragyna speciosa. It comes from Southeast Asia and has been used for thousands of years by the local population. The Kratom Connection’s mission is to provide quality kratom to customers worldwide.

The Kratom Connection wants you to know that this product hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA. They have not approved it for human consumption.

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Adam Torkildson
Adam Torkildson

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