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It's no fun being sore the morning after a good workout, so here are several techniques for pain reduction during recovery:
1.Warmup - First and foremost, you must prepare your body for exercise before working out, so rotating all joints in both directions will lubricate the ligaments and allow for ease of movement, which improves flexibility of your muscles. The more flexible you are, the better your muscles adapt to exercise.
2. Start slow - Regardles of whether you're just jogging or doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), easing your way into the activity will cause less stress on the body as a whole.
3. Stretch - Here's a tricky one. Some people beliieve that a thorough stretch befor a workout is good, but you must remember that if your muscles are cold, they wont be as flexible. Make sure your stretching routine is very ligh if you haven't warmed up yet, because an intense stretch can cause microtears, which can also lead to injury.
4. Rest - The human body takes between 24-48 hours to repair muscle tears experiences in load bearing exercise, so allow time to heal before working the same muscle group
5. Protein - The building block of muscle - we all need protein to fuel our muscles, so a protein-rich diet supports the hemoglobin in the blood, which carries oxygen to working muscles. THe energy derived from protein is critical to prolonged workouts.
6. Hydrate - Flush your system and sweat out toxins by maintaining a gallon(2 liters)/ day habit of drinking water. (I know, thats ALOT of water, but its worth it to your body!
7. Alternating hot/cold shower - The hot water relaxes and increases blood flow, and the cold water relieves swelling.
8. Massage Therapy - Not only is massage relaxing, but it'll help to loosen knots in your muscles, which aide recovery as well.
9. Meditation - For some, relaxation isn't as easy as it sounds, so meditation may be necessary to relieve the tension in your muscles, even before stretching. Visualizing a "happy place" and slow, deep breathing while seated on the floor can relieve tension associated with DOMS as well.
10. NSAIDS - Though I always endorse natural forms of therapy, Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprophen can assist in pain management and swelling reduction.
If you follow these techniques you will drastically reduce the amount of time you experience DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
Julien Elie (Personal Trainer / Ju Jutsu Instructor)