How to Speed Recovery & Reduce Muscle Soreness. If you're feeling stiff and sore after a workout, try this...
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You go to the gym and do a hard workout and feel great afterwards. But the next day you wake up with aches and pains... Your body is stiff, your muscles are sore, and it lasts for 3-4 days afterwards... This is what's referred to as "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness" (or DOMS for short).
DOMS is the pain and stiffness that you feel in your muscles for days after you perform unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. This could be from an extra hard workout in the gym, or from doing hard physical labor work, playing sports, or any other form of physical activity that your body is not used to performing.
As your body gets accustomed to a particular form of exercise, the less muscle soreness you'll experience. But even if you are in great shape and workout regularly you can still get sore if you change up your workout, do a new exercise, or perform an activity that you are not used to doing.
To help speed up recovery and reduce muscle soreness after a hard workout you can use hot & cold therapy. The easiest way to do this is when you are getting a shower. Turn on the water to as hot as you can comfortably stand for 2 minutes. Then turn the water to as cold as you can comfortably stand for 1 minute. Repeat back and forth between hot and cold several times.
What hot / cold therapy does is it flushes blood through the muscles. Hot water draws blood to the surface of the skin, that's why your skin gets red when hot. And the cold water pulls blood to the core of the body. By alternating back and forth between hot and cold you'll circulate blood and speed up recovery without doing any physical activity.
Active recovery workouts are another way to speed up recovery and reduce muscle soreness. Things like walking, easy jogging, bicycling, easy swimming, etc. are all good forms of active recovery exercises. They help to increase your metabolism, increase blood flow and allow the body to process lactic acid build up and remove waste products. You could also do some light weight training exercises with about 50% of your normal workload to just pump the muscles with fresh blood and nutrients to aid with recovery, but not so much that you'll break them down even further.
You'll actually recover from a workout faster by doing "Active Recovery" training than you will from simply doing nothing. Gentle exercise works the kinks and stiffness out of your sore muscles and will allow you to bounce back to normal training again sooner.
So the next time you are feeling extra stiff and sore, use Hot & Cold Therapy when you are getting a shower, and make sure to keep moving with Active Recovery Workouts.
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