COPING WITH SORE MUSCLES

Words: Swapnil Mishra

Sometimes, even holding a tooth brush or trying to walk or sit becomes onerous. When this happens people start getting distraught, thinking that maybe it is a problem with their body and maybe they should stop exercising for a while (which later becomes permanent in a lot of cases).

The key is not give up; the pain is a part of the results we get and anyone from a novice to an athlete to a warrior can experience it.

Upon delving a bit deeper it can be surmised that when the muscles work harder than normal, the fibres that build them up get damaged. This process accompanied with the production of lactic acid (which induces accumulation of prostaglandins and histamines) causes pain, inflammation and soreness.

The soreness can be of two types – the first one being delayed onset muscle soreness, the one which is felt most strongly for 24 to 72 hours prior to the workout and the other is acute muscle soreness, which comes up immediately.

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We cannot completely eliminate this side effect as it is completely natural and to a very good extent it is a marker to the fact that we are getting stronger after every session. But we can take the following measures to ease the pain and bounce back as soon as possible:

1: Prior to your workout have some (a cup or two) coffee. A recent study shows that moderate amounts of caffeine can reduce muscle soreness by almost 48%.
2: Whenever exercising a particular muscle, do not increase the weight (resistance) until your body builds some tolerance towards it.
3: Ending workouts with a 10 minute cardio session (like jogging) followed by stretching has proven to be an effective measure.
4: Foam rollers or roller sticks are the best when it comes to massaging a particular muscle group. You can always use one post workout for relaxing the muscle.
5: A hot bath followed by icing provides rapid relief. A hot bath will provide relaxation and pain relief; icing will prevent further damage and induce healing.
6: Getting body massages and swimming sessions on weekends can also help in reducing muscular tension.

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7: Following foods can help in providing relief against sore muscles and promote rapid recovery:
a. Consuming berries and plums helps in eliminating muscle waste.
b. Leafy green vegetables can reduce inflammation and improve hydration.
c. Watermelon and pineapple help in replenishing muscular glycogen levels thereby speeding up tissue repair.
d. Consume protein rich foods like eggs.
8: Always keep your body hydrated. Drink lots of water before during and after the workout. Nothing on this planet can ever replace water.

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