Feeling tight? 5 ways to help you recover faster.
Are your muscles sore, tight and tired? The is a common issue from pushing your body harder than normal during a workout or from a new exercise that challenged your muscles in a new way. Personally I always get a little giddy when I’m sore because I know I’m using new muscles and pushing myself, but it’s not something you should be trying to achieve every workout. My favorite is when my obliques or inner thighs are sore. (I know I’m weird!)
With training for my half-marathon and Spartan Race, I’ve been pushing my body in new ways, with running and also lifting weights. So I’ve been spending a little extra time giving my muscles some much needed recovery. Research has shown that your after workout routine is just as important as what you do during your workout in order to see the results you want. Here are my favorite ways of easing sore muscles post workout!
I know this one seems like a no brainer. But honestly it’s so easy to forget to replenish your body especially during and after your workout. Staying hydrated can help you flush out toxins in your body that can cause muscle fatigue and cramps. It will also help you avoid dehydration which can cause muscles soreness to be more painful.
I recently got this bottle that helps me track how much water I’m drinking. In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weight, every day! Within the first week of using this bottle I realized I was only drinking half that amount everyday. I was totally shocked, so this really helps to bring your awareness to the amount you’re drinking.
If you can find a bottle that is easy to carry around you will be more likely to drink more water since water will be close by. Also, if it’s cute that helps me drink more water because I want to see it and show it off so I have it in my hands, but made sure it’s easy to close so it doesn’t leak all over.
While a massage is a great way to ease sore muscles and help flush out toxins, it’s not always the most affordable. That is why having a foam roller is the best item to have at home. Foam Rolling has the same effect as a massage on your muscles, it’s a technique that’s called self-myofascial release. The pressure from rolling your muscles on the roller helps release tight muscles and fascia, plus is easy to target a specific area of your body that need a little TLC.
You should get in the habit of rolling out your muscles even when you’re not sore. Spending a few minutes with a foam roller could improve your range of motion, increase flexibility, and help alleviate any muscle tightness/soreness. A lot of people get really intimidated by rolling out or don’t know how to use it to target specific muscles so here is a recent post with some ideas.
This is pretty much the first thing I did after my half marathon. Cupping can help loosen muscles, fascia and encourages blood flow. Cupping is a great tool to relieve back and neck pains, stiff muscles, anxiety, and migraines. The pressure from the cup pulls new blood to an area on your body to accelerate healing and is very effective at loosening tight fascia and muscles.
This is not a super common at home practice, however it’s totally doable. I purchased this at home cupping kit off amazon for $13 a year ago, and this has saved me so many times when my neck or back get knots and are stiff. You can get a kit with a hose and pump to be able to do it yourself.
I usually do 2-4 pumps depending on how it feels, and leave the cups on for about 10-15 minutes. After it feels a little tight still but it starts to loosen up a few minutes after. Just be prepared to have weird purpleish circles on your body for a week or so.
Lengthening and stretching your muscles is just as important as flexing and contracting the muscles during your working to build strength, create toned muscles and avoid injuries. You should never finish a workout without stretching after. While stretching may not completely relieve the lingering pain of a intense workout it can help your muscle fibers become healthier and more elastic. Which will help your muscles bounce back faster, so you hopefully don’t have to walk funny for a week.
I know that when we’re sore the last thing we want to do it move anything, but that’s exactly what your body needs. Usually a light walk, Yoga class or swimming are great options to give your body a little break while working out some kinks and sore muscles. I always find that after a little movement my body feels so much better than if I just sit on the couch and watch a movies. Getting in some light cardio or stretching will help improve circulation and relieve your aches and pains.
So if you’ve done an intense workout, be sure to give your body a little time to recover but also try one or all of these little tricks to get your blood moving and body feeling like 100 bucks again!