A few days ago, you had a great workout. You rocked the gym and felt healthy and fit. Today though? You’re STILL sore. What’s going on? It might be DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
DOMS can happen when you switch up your routine, like trying barre, going for a trail run with lots of elevation change, or completing a particularly tough leg day workout. Your body isn’t used to moving its muscles in new ways or with more weight so you might be sorer than you would be after a typical workout. When you train your muscles, they break down, and get small tears in them. This causes inflammation which makes you feel sore. Don’t worry – it won’t last forever. The good news is the next time you try your new workout, you’re less likely to get this sore again. But in the meantime, try these tips to ease your soreness.
The last thing you probably want to do right now is move, but it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself right now. Go for a five minute walk or do another form of low-impact exercise, like swimming or riding a bike. Do some light stretching or a gentle yoga flow, which can help to loosen up your tight muscles. Alternatively, work the muscles that are not currently affected. If your legs are super sore, train your arms and back. And after future workouts, make sure to complete a 10 minute cooldown after your workout.
Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate which can help to reduce muscle inflammation and ease your aches and pains. A warm bath will also help you relax stressed muscles, improves circulation, and it’s a great way to treat yourself after a tough workout. Soak for at least 12 minutes for therapeutic benefits.
If you can stomach it, an ice bath can help decrease inflammation and ease your sore muscles. If the polar plunge is too much for you, an ice pack will help too. Leave ice on for only 20 minutes so as not to get frostbite, and wait 45 minutes before you reapply.
A full-on massage might be too much if you’re very sore, but even self-massage can help. Use a foam roller or tennis ball to roll out your aching muscles and increase blood flow to the areas.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to just take it easy and allow your muscles to heal. Put your feet up, make a cup of tea, and read a good book. In a day or two, you’ll be ready to crush it again.