Minimizing Sore Muscles
Arghh, the dull pain from sore muscles, is a repeated complain from women
involved in fitness training! Hard exercise causes muscle damage. If you looked
under a microscope at your sore muscles after a hard workout you would see torn
and ruptured individual muscle cells, and breakdown of the membranes between
them. High intensity exercise causes muscle soreness.
However you can reduce the incidence of pain and sore muscles by
the following tips in your training routine.
Adopt good training habits.
Avoid being a weekend warrior. A weekend warrior does little exercise during
the week. The words "couch potato" come to mind. Then, with a burst of
enthusiasm, the weekend warrior "seizes the weekend", running, playing, dancing,
etc. A better strategy is to exercise regularly. Get into motion 2 or 3 times a
week for 20 min at a stretch!
Do a bit of stretching.
Slowly bend down, reaching for your toes. Hang forward, counting to 15. Let
gravity do the stretching. Don't force the stretch. Then lean over to each side,
making a giant letter "C", again for 15 seconds. Then bend your knees and shift
from side to side, stretching the groin muscles. Lastly, roll your shoulders
around a couple of times. Now you're ready for more vigorous activity. Have fun.
Start with a slow warm up.
Cold muscles suddenly put to work are more likely to become damaged than
ones that have been warmed up properly. Warming up gradually will increase your
heart and breathing rates, increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your
muscles before you begin to work them hard. In addition, your joints secrete
more synovial fluid and become less stiff. With a warm-up, the body is properly
adapted to the demands of exercise.
Be sure to drink lots of water.
And remember to eat a high carbohydrate, low fat diet so your muscles have
plenty of fuel.
Do not increase both intensity and duration during the same week.
If you are on a strength and endurance program keep your intensity or
duration increase to 10% or
less each week. Allow your body to recover properly and adapt slowly to improved
It may seem that doing full body workouts will benefit you the most but you
can actually push yourself harder and work your muscles more effectively (avoid
muscle soreness) if you work different body parts each day. Modify your strength
training routine by, working back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders one day and
quads, hamstrings, calves, abs the next day. The advantage is that you can
easily incorporate supersets, combination sets, and tri-sets into your workout.
The disadvantage is that the full upper body workout can get really lengthy.
Get a massage
Even though research hasn't proved this to speed healing, massage has been
shown to lower levels of muscle soreness by stimulating neutrophils (white blood
cells that fight inflammation). It goes without saying that athletes feel better
after a massage.
You can also take an epsom salt bath or use the pool and hot tub for 15
minutes of relaxation to reduce muscle tension.
Maintain a regular intake of 1000 mg of vitamin C and 100-200 mg of
bromelain, an enzyme from pineapples, for two days - these are natural anti-inflammatories.
Good blood flow through your muscles is the key to quick, natural healing.
Dated 13 September 2012