While sore muscles may be rewarding after a hard workout session, it may be tough to wash your hair in the shower or walk up a flight of stairs. The muscle soreness you feel anywhere from 12 – 48 hours after a tough workout is something specialists refer to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. DOMS is a result of microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. The onset of pain is your body’s way of communicating to you that repairs are taking place and that it would like some rest. Everyone from the average Joe to professional athletes experience muscle soreness. But unlike professional athletes, we don’t all have things like cryotherapy and electric stimulation at our disposal. However, there are some inexpensive, simple solutions that can relieve your aches and pain in the comfort of your own home.
Take a Warm Bath
Soaking in warm water will help your tight muscles loosen up and improves their circulation. Better circulation means that more oxygen and nutrient rich blood is restoring your aching muscles.
Heat and Ice
Research has shown that alternating between cold and hot is highly effective in improving your circulation and muscle recuperation. Alternate between applying an ice pack and a heat pack for 15 minutes at a time.
The soreness you feel is a result of your muscles tightening up during recovery mode. Gentle, slow stretches will help alleviate the tightness and diffuse the soreness.
Pack in Protein
Your muscles are hungry after a tough workout and are craving protein. Snack on natural sources of protein such as fish, poultry, nuts, lean meats and quinoa.
Over-the-counter painkillers, in particular Ibuprofen, can decrease muscle soreness and take the pain out of DOMS.
Similar to a warm bath, massaging a sore muscle can help reduce muscle tightness while promoting the flow of blood, which can ultimately speed up the recovery.