When you experience tense muscles after a workout, the discomfort can be unsettling and can even discourage you from working out regularly. Some soreness can feel good, but too much is a lot to handle. You know your own body, and you’ll probably recognize when a workout has left you too sore to function. Luckily you can stave off a lot of post-workout soreness and relieve regular tension by using a few rejuvenation techniques. Let’s take a look at some simple methods you can use to avoid muscle tension and improve your post-workout body.
Stretch Before and After a Workout
Stretching before and after your workout is a simple way to avoid sore muscles and help them rejuvenate. Make stretching an essential part of your exercise routine. Stretch by performing gentle movements to warm up your muscles for a workout, such as leg swings or lunges. After your fitness routine, do some holding stretches to prevent muscle soreness. Be sure to breathe through each position and hold for at least thirty seconds.
Give yourself a massage. It’s an excellent way to rejuvenate your muscles. Use an essential oil that relaxes, such as lavender, sandalwood, eucalyptus, tea tree, patchouli or peppermint. If it’s a pure doTERRA product, mix it with a neutral carrier oil first, such as olive or jojoba. You can also use essential oils for your massage that have soothing properties. Oils such as sandalwood, juniper, rosemary, thyme, and clove are soothing and calming. You can also use a massage stick or a foam roller. These devices help you to easily reach places on your body without straining. You can also find a lot of topical creams that can help to work through soreness and will self-heat and cool muscles as they repair.
Take a Warm Bath
A warm bath boosts the blood circulation to your muscle cells. When you heighten circulation, it delivers an increased level of nutrients. A warm bath also reduces stress levels. Take a warm bath right before bed so you’ll sleep better, which also speeds up muscle recovery. After you get your muscles warm again through these methods, be sure to try a few gentle stretches. Get your body used to working through the soreness and keep them pliable, warm, and flexible as you recover.
Drink water. Hydration is a simple way to avoid soreness. You’re also replacing any fluids you’ve lost from exertion during your workout. Water supports all our metabolic functions and nutrient transfers so drinking lots of water improves every bodily function including post-workout muscle recovery. If possible add some salt, electrolytes, or other recovery foods to your diet. Don’t overdo it, but be sure your body gets a replacement for all the nutrients it lost in the workout. If you don’t like drinking plain water you can usually find flavored powders with these replenishing substitutes already added in.
Antioxidants, like vitamin C, can help tense muscles. Take a vitamin C supplement, or eat vitamin C rich foods. Also, eating protein or taking protein supplements supports your muscles. One study showed that protein supplements helped relieve sore muscles after intense exercise. Along with these supplements, be sure you eat a balanced diet before and after your workouts. Green foods like spinach, lettuce, and other water-based vegetables are great for getting more fiber and vitamins. Include meats, beans, and nuts to get more protein and be sure to add in some dairy where possible. If you are doing high-intensity cardio you should also increase your carb counts. Be sure you eat enough carbs to replenish what you burn off, and then have some left over for post-recovery repairs in your body.
After you work out, one of the most important stages of recovery is getting enough rest. Go to bed a little earlier that night or make sure you have time to sleep in a little more the next day. In addition to sleeping, be sure you have rest days planned within your week. Have a day planned where you can recover, not workout, or only do light exercise like weight-lifting or yoga. This is also a great day to swim and shake out your sore muscles with some light exercise that gets the muscles working, but not so much that they continue to hurt.
Recovery after a fitness routine is needed to repair your muscles and tissues. Your muscles need 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild. Working your muscles again too soon can easily lead to tissue breakdown. Be sure to take a day or two break in between your workouts, while using any or all the rejuvenation methods outlined here. In no time, you’ll be back on your feet and ready to tackle the next workout.