Have you pushed yourself a bit too hard during your workout and are now suffering from sore muscles? Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious and can be easily fixed. Just follow these few pointers!
Muscle soreness is pain that comes on after intensive or unfamiliar physical exertion usually following an exercise session.
These aches and pains are caused by micro-tears in muscle fibres, which allow in interstitial fluid. This gets inside the muscle, triggering edema, and an inflammatory response intended to eliminate the damaged muscle fibres and repair the area.
Sore muscles generally develop 24-48 hours after exercise, and can last several days. The most important thing is to rest to allow your limbs to fully recover.
Be careful not to confuse muscle soreness with two other kinds of muscle pain: cramp (a sudden, intense but temporary contraction) and contracture (persistent contraction of the muscles).
Now we’ve established what causes muscle soreness, we can explore some genuinely effective remedies.
Experts agree that the safest, most effective approach to muscle soreness is to take pre-emptive action.
For that, it’s crucial to practise your chosen sport or exercise at a level consistent with your abilities, by establishing a regular, progressive program.
And you should always avoid ending your workout abruptly, taking several minutes to cool down and actively recover.
As well as rest, there are three natural techniques which have been shown to be effective at easing muscle soreness :
Let’s now take a look at some active substances that can relieve muscle soreness.
Water, plain and simple. Hydration maintains good blood flow and thus oxygenates muscle fibres. It also helps to remove toxins from the body, which may reduce inflammation. So drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising. Many athletes recommend drinking alkaline water in particular.
You can also drink relaxing or anti-inflammatory herbal teas (camomile, ginger, peppermint…)
If the pain is severe, you can, of course, use medication to ease pain and discomfort: oral analgesics and anti-inflammatories (paracetamol, ibuprofen), topical analgesics in the form of creams or gels … However these drugs only treat the symptoms.
If you’ve ‘overdone it’ during your workout, or you often suffer from sore muscles, you can also turn to gentler, more natural substances :
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