You were so hyped at the start of the week. After rallying your friends to try the latest boot camp designed to burn 1000 calories in one session, you were optimistic about taking your fitness goals to the next level. You survived the class, HOORAY!, but a day or two later it feels like all 600 muscles in your body are sore all at once and you feel defeated. Is this a sign you probably started a little too hard too soon? Yep, sorry not sorry. The gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after an activity is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it is perfectly normal. To minimize your soreness, follow these steps:
1. First, anticipate soreness.
Sounds a bit weird but if you know and accept that your workout is supposed to burn, you will be more accepting of the soreness that comes with it. Think about how you will look as a result of your dedication to exercising.
2. Next step, start slow.
When beginning an exercise regimen after an offseason or vacation, ease into it with low-impact workouts that you enjoy. If you are a workout rookie, do not go overboard trying to lift and do other insane workouts you see others doing. People have a tendency to overdo it initially, and they end up with injuries because the body is not prepared for the extra activity. Low-intensity workouts are a good way to reintroduce the body to activity, frequency, and duration. After a week or two, you can bump up the intensity and day by day you will make steady progress.
3. Eat right!
According to active.com, "the 30-45 minutes following a workout is a critical time to nourish your body for proper recovery." Recovery includes muscle building, replacing your energy stores and preventing post-workout fatigue and muscle soreness. Plan ahead and have a protein shake or antioxidant-rich container of tart cherry juice readily available to aid your recovery.
4. Stretching your muscles before and after your workout is probably the number one factor to reduce soreness, pain, and injuries.
Simple stretches before bed and first thing in the morning helps your blood circulate better. Additionally, nothing circulates blood like “I-C-E” (Kelly Rowland voice). If you have ever seen a locker interview after a sporting event, you probably noticed that a lot of the athletes ice their body or take ice baths. Almost all injuries heal quicker when ice is applied.
5. Lastly, to deal with soreness keep exercising.
Yup, we know that’s the cause of your soreness in the first place and more exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing when you are sore but working out promotes circulation and your body will definitely thank you. Being inactive while you are sore is worse than working out. Nothing in life comes easy. If it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t work.
Here's a workout to try: