If you're starting out on a new fitness programme, such as our boot camp, after the first couple of sessions muscles will be sore and moving around might be a bit limited. This is caused by a process called DOMS which means Delayed, onset, muscle, soreness. Basically between 24-48 hours post exercise session is when DOMS affects us the most. The pain is caused by inflammation of the muscles, when we exercise (and depending on the type of exercise will determine how much of an effect it has) our muscles tear slightly and this is what causes the pain – swelling and inflammation. So here’s a few great tips to reduce the pain and help your muscles to recover and rebuild quicker:
Take a Cold shower or bath
Just like you would place ice on an injury to reduce swelling, getting a cold shower or bath can help to reduce inflammation of the muscles and in turn may help to reduce the pain and speed up recovery.
I say this all the time to my clients, stretching is SO important, when we exercise our muscles may shorten and become tight, this can increase our risk of injury too and may cause some niggles and pain here and there. Spending 10-15 minutes daily or attending a weekly yoga, Pilates or stretch class can really help with flexibility and reduce the risk of injury – after all you still want to be able to bend down to tie your shoe laces later in life hey?
Add Epsom salts to your bath or use magnesium spray
The build up of lactic acid within the muscles can be the cause of DOMS and by adding epsom salts which are naturally high in magnesium or magnesium spray, your body absorbes the magnesium and helps to reduce that lactic acid build up which reduces the inflammation, not only that magnesium will then contribute to the repair and regrowth of the muscles.
Keep your body moving as much as possible, the longer you stay in a seated position, the more the muscles will tighten up and the more you will feel the effects (and less mobile you will be), by moving around more you are keeping your body more supple.
Have a Massage or use a foam roller
Repeating from above, with the lactic acid in the muscles, when we have a massage the motion of the massage helps to release the build up of lactic acid, especially deep tissue sports massages, a monthly massage is highly recommended for not only physical recovery but mental too. Using a foam roller to perform self myofascial release can be effective too, they are a cheap option but great for helping with aches and pains within the body. Check out guides on how to self myofascial release if you need further assistance.
Fuel your muscles correctly
Immediately after exercise is when you would add your carbohydrates, this is to help to restore the glycogen in the muscles (used during training) a piece of fruit or rice cake with almond butter for example, then we need to be fuelling our bodies with healthy proteins and fats to rebuild the muscles and reduce inflammation:
Healthy lean cuts of meat, poultry or eggs can help with the protein if you don’t eat meat and follow a plant based diet then rice and peas can help with your protein intake.
For healthy fats add omega 3 oils, avocadoes and flaxseeds as an example.
Most of what is advised in our Boot Camp nutrition protocols.
Next time you're aching from a Fitness Session give some of these a try.