10 Things To Do if You Feel Tired and Sore After Working Out
Sore muscles can be par for the course when exercise is involved – after all, there are microscopic tears and damage to the connective tissues and muscles involved as a result of the workout you were doing!
The soreness that you feel during exercise – also known as acute soreness – isn’t the same pain you’ll be feeling a day or two later; that delayed soreness is known as DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. The acute soreness during exercise is due to a buildup of lactic acid within the muscles that dissipates rather quickly once exercise is stopped. The delayed onset muscle soreness can often catch you by surprise – and can hit anywhere from one to even three days after your workout.
Now, you might not notice this delayed onset of muscle soreness every single time you workout; rather, this type of soreness is typically felt after you’ve done something new. This can mean a totally new exercise, and therefore making your body move in a different way, or even something like changing the intensity of your workout – something as simple as going from a run to a sprint, or adding heavier weights into your lifting routine.
The muscles essentially become stressed (a normal process for muscular growth, muscular strength, and even improved mobility and flexibility), and then begin to have microtears within the fibers. This sounds intense, but it is happening on a microscope level!
Even so, the soreness and fatigue that can follow a new or different workout can be painful – even for the more advanced exercisers. Let’s take a look at 10 different things you can do if you notice that you’re ending up sore and tired after a workout, and how you can get yourself feeling better before your next exercise session!
1. Foam Roll
Some people love a foam roller, others hate it. Regardless, a foam roller aids in giving you a form of myofascial release – a little self-massage! Foam rollers can be found at any sporting goods store, and can even be made out of PVC pipe. If you’re wanting to delve a bit deeper into a particular muscle group, then utilizing something like a tennis ball or lacrosse ball can also be beneficial.
2. Wear Compression
From leggings and sleeves to socks, there are compression garments to fit just about any body part that might be sore! Compression clothing aids in increasing blood flow, which can improve muscular recovery rates. Just ensure that you are wearing the proper size in whatever garments you are wearing!
3. Eat Protein
After any workout – regardless of muscle soreness or not – protein consumption is key. Not only does protein aid in muscle repair, but it is also vital for muscle recovery as well. Aim to eat within 45 minutes of finishing your workout, but don’t forget some complex carbs and healthy fats as well!
4. Stay Hydrated
Although drinking water doesn’t seem to have a direct impact on decreasing muscle soreness, it does have a significant impact on muscle cramps and overall tightness – which can then correlate with muscle pain over time! Muscles need electrolytes and water in order to function normally, so a disruption in your fluid intake can certainly hinder performance progress.
5. Stay Active
As contradictory as this sounds, staying active can actually help you recover faster than if you were completely sedentary after a hard workout. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and run a 10k, however, it can be beneficial to go for a walk, do some light swimming, participate in a yoga class, or whatever feels best for you!
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This can be a tricky subject, seeing as how stretching in and of itself doesn’t necessarily take away muscle soreness. However, it does increase blood flow to the joints and muscles, which can help to ease pain over time. Just remember to only stretch to the point of tension (never pain).
7. Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Both the warm-up and cool-down portions of a workout program are essential – not only for overall performance but to reduce injury as well. Research has shown that doing a proper warm-up before movement can reduce the level of perceived muscle soreness after a workout is complete… so make sure you’re doing a dynamic warm-up that precedes your exercise!
8. Ice packs and Warm Compresses
The use of both of these modalities is highly variable from person to person. Ice packs are best used to reduce any inflammation or swelling, whereas heat, or a warm compress, brings blood flow to the affected muscle. The heat can then decrease stiffness within the surrounding joints, and aid in decreasing tightness within muscles as well.
For most people, sleep is not an option directly after a workout, however, ensuring that you get adequate sleep at night will not only help boost your performance and mental clarity, it will also help your body recover. The body heals during sleep, and your muscles are no different! Try and aim for seven to nine hours each night if possible.
10. Check Form
Although this might be considered a no-brainer, checking your form during exercise can help prevent muscle soreness or injury. If you notice that your technique might be incorrect, check with a local fitness specialist or personal trainer who can show you the proper way to move, especially if you are adding resistance. The last thing you want to do is move incorrectly under load; this can cause asymmetries, muscle imbalances, and even serious injury!
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