So Spring is here and you’ve been hitting it hard. Running, hiking, working out, biking, whatever you fancy, right? The next day, or maybe 2 days later, the soreness hits like a brick wall. Those sore muscles are the telltale signs that you’ve been moving more than normal. Called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, (DOMS), you might be walking or moving a little gingerly depending on how hard you pushed yourself. When muscles are required to work harder than they’re used to, it is believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibers, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness. Some things that you can do to assist in muscle recovery are the following:
-A recovery drink. Do you need an excuse to drink chocolate milk? Well here is the best excuse for an adult to drink it! While there are many sports recovery drinks on the market, you can just grab some chocolate milk from the grocery store and chug. Downing a drink that contains both carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of working out will help replace glycogen stores that have been depleted in the muscle and repair muscles. About 16oz is enough to do the trick. Of course, there are loads of options for drinks if chocolate milk doesn’t suit your needs, just do an internet search for “post exercise recovery drink”.
-Warming up BEFORE exercising and stretching AFTER! Yes, this matters! Dynamic stretching before a workout allows your muscles to warm up, without straining them. Here is a link for pre-running dynamic stretches, http://www.runnersworld.com/ask-coach-jenny/a-runners-guide-to-warming-up . 5-10 minutes of post-workout stretching before you get in your car or sit in a chair allows your muscles to cool down. Focus on stretching the areas that were worked out the most.
-Massage. You knew I would say that. Research has shown that massage can suppress the inflammation caused by exercise and enhance cell recovery. Check out this NY Times post on the subject. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/how-massage-heals-sore-muscles/?_r=0
In conclusion, get out there and move but don’t forget to take care of yourself.