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We’ve all been there – you ran a little too far or lifted a little too much and now you’ve woken up with sore aching muscles.
On the one hand, those aches and pains are a sign that you’re strengthening your muscles in new ways – but the soreness can make it hard to continue exercising. Don’t let soreness get in your way – use the tips below to reduce pain and get on with your healthy routine.
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1. Drink Plenty Of Water
Dehydration can make muscle pain increase, so make sure that you’re taking in at least 2 liters (2 quarts) a day. Remember that alcohol and caffeine are dehydrating, so it’s best to avoid them at this time.
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2. Take An Ice-Bath
You don’t have to be a pitcher in the big leagues to benefit from a post-workout ice bath!
Ice baths relieve sore muscle pain in two ways: first, the cold water reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels. Then, as your body warms up after the bath, vessels open quickly increasing circulation, which helps speed the healing.
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3. Active Rest
One of the best things you can do to prevent further injury to overworked muscles is to simply take a rest for a day. But resting doesn’t give you a free pass to being a couch potato!
You’ll actually help sore muscle heal faster by doing some light to moderate activity. It boosts circulation, to carry the needed nutrients and oxygen to muscle. Just remember to take it easy with whichever part of your body is feeling the most pain.
4. Eat Foods Rich In Protein And Carbohydrates
When your muscles ache after exercise, it’s because they were actually damaged by the strenuous workout. It takes a couple of days for the ripped muscle to heal and you can help that happen faster by rebuilding your stores of energy for them.
Protein helps build and repair the muscles, while carbohydrates will give your body energy. Eating something rich in both of these nutrients will help speed the healing process so you’re ready to get back to your workouts sooner.
5. Massage Your Aches Away
A massage is always a great way to relax tight, sore muscle and reduce the pain – not that you really need an excuse to get a massage!
If you can, go get a professional massage. If you don’t want to spend the money on it, there are plenty of “do-it-yourself” options like a shower massage, electric massager or even a tennis ball. And don’t forget the old stand-by – your partner!
6. Apply Heat To Sore Muscles
While cold will prevent swelling, heat gets rid of stiffness and brings more oxygen-carrying blood to the aching area which can speed up your recovery period.
It’s easy to do by soaking in a hot tub or bath, or take a hot shower. You can also spend sometime in a sauna. For more localized pain, try using a heating pad or chemical heat pack. And don’t forget the power of mentholated topical balms like IcyHot for relieving muscle pain.
7. Move Around
You may want to lie in bed without moving, but what you really need to do is move around a little bit.
Take a walk around the block, or practice a bit of yoga. Any kind of light movements will help get blood flowing and heal those sore muscle that much faster.
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