What causes sore muscles?
There are many ways to cause sore muscles, but typically any sort of overuse or strenuous activity that pushes our body and muscles in new ways will cause sore muscles. Tiny micro tears will cause pain, working as our body’s defense to what we are doing to it! Some people experience these symptoms immediately after a workout, some get more sore 2 days after activity, or if you are super lucky like me, you can even experience the soreness before you are finished doing the damage!
How can I help prevent sore muscles?
Three important ways to help reduce lactic acid buildup and these tiny micro tears in our muscles are to:
1. Warm up before all strenuous activity. This will get the blood flowing and ready for the hard work.
2. Cool down properly with an active recovery like walking, jog, or swimming. This will help flush out any lactic acid that has been built, and reduce swelling.
3. Stretch properly.
There are also other preventative measures you can take outside of physical activity. Replacing fluids lost (water AND electrolytes). This supports metabolic function and nutrient transfer. Replenishing energy stores by eating foods with a good mix of protein, fat and carbohydrates will help repair damaged tissues and recover faster. Eating a recovery meal or drink within 30mins of exercise is key. If you wait to long to drink a protein shake, or eat a good balanced meal, your body will go into panic mode and will not be able to replenish the nutrients to it’s best ability.
What foods are best for recovery?
Antioxidants are a natural way to help decrease muscle soreness by reducing the inflammation. Foods high in vitamins C & E that can be eaten on a daily basis are; oranges, melons & berries, nuts, and whole grains. If you suffer from muscle cramps, you may also benefit from eating a diet rich in potassium found in foods like bananas, tomatoes, and turkey.
Any other helpful sources of recovery?
Ice baths are a great way to decrease the inflammation and repair muscle fiber tears. They are most effective if done within 30minutes after a vigorous workout.
Massage therapy is a great way to help flush out lactic acid build up and any other toxins in the system.
Rest, active recovery and light NSAID (not steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) may also be used if the soreness continues or is very painful. If the problem persists, it is always suggested to consult your physician.