Everyone knows (and is told, time after time) that exercising and working out is a good thing to do. It helps keep your body fit and it increases weight loss. It should, when done right, make you happy through the release of a combination of hormones. All in all, how could it ever be a bad thing? The problem comes a few days after the workout when your muscles ache and are stiff. This delayed pain can come as a shock and it can make things difficult when it comes to normal mobility and everyday chores. What are the ways that can prevent (or reduce) pain after an intensive workout?
How Long Does It Last?
One thing to bear in mind before starting on any pain relief is that the pain should subside after 24 to 48 hours as long as you rest up. If the pain becomes worse, or simply doesn’t go in the timeframe as you might expect, you may have sustained a more serious injury and you should go and see your doctor. It’s especially important to go if you are also experiencing a stiff neck, high fever, difficulty breathing, and muscle weakness.
Use An Ice Pack
For immediate relief and if there is swelling associated with the injury, an ice pack can do wonders for the pain. If you don’t have an ice pack to hand, you can wrap some ice in a towel or other clean cloth before placing on the sore area. Never put ice directly on the skin, or you could experience ice burn, making the pain much worse rather than better. Leave the ice on the injury for 15 minutes every hour. If there is no swelling, then heat could work to reduce the pain as well. Do the same with an ice pack – 15 minutes on the injury for every hour – and you’ll find that circulation is increased which helps healing and pain relief.
Have A Massage
A massage done by a professional with the right qualifications is another great way to soothe, reduce, or even eliminate pain after an intensive workout. A massage is designed to work on the muscles, loosening them up and removing all the toxins that have built up there. Once the tight, injured muscles have been soothed, the pain should be a lot less, and perhaps even gone entirely. For sporting injuries, there is a sports massage available that works solely on getting these muscles working as they should again.
Stretch It Out
Simple stretching is another good way to prevent the injury from happening in the first place, but if it does happen stretching will help to reduce the pain and help the muscles to move smoothly again. A warm-up before exercising is important. It should take no more than 10 minutes and consists of easy movements such as marching on the spot and swinging your arms back and forth. If your muscles have been warmed up, they will be less likely to hurt much after a workout. However, stretching will also reduce the pain afterward. Be careful (you don’t want to cause any more damage) and try gently stretching the affected area until it feels looser and freer.
See A Chiropractor
If the pain you are experiencing isn’t muscle related, but you are still hurting after a workout, a chiropractor such as the experts at Atlas Chiropractic can help you by manipulating your spine to ‘re-set’ it and make sure it is aligned. This has a hugely positive effect on the rest of the body meaning that your arms and legs will feel stronger and more able to cope with any exercise you want to attempt.
Although if the pain is really very bad, it is rest that is called for, if it is manageable then going back to the gym or attending a class or even going for a walk or a swim is a good idea. As long as you don’t overdo it, additional exercise is a good thing. Remember that the pain from your muscles is a good thing too, even if it might not feel like it; if your muscles are hurting it means that you have stretched them which is what makes them stronger. By continuing to (lightly) use them, you can build up a tolerance and make them stronger still. This process will also speed up the elimination of the build-up of lactic acid which is another reason you hurt during a workout.
Be Careful Of Eccentric Exercises
An eccentric exercise is one in which the muscles lengthen under tension. An example is a bicep curl, or running down a hill. These kinds of exercise can be more damaging and more painful than any other, which is why it is best to work up slowly to doing them. If you are in any doubt then speaking to a trainer is a great idea; they will be able to create a personal workout plan for you, which will result in fewer injuries and optimum weight loss.
Enjoy A Warm Bath
If you are in pain, a warm bath can help you. Firstly, it will relax your mind which can be a barrier to pain relief; if you think you are in pain, your body will respond accordingly. If you think the pain is going – or even gone – again, your body will start to believe you and the pain will start to subside. Secondly, a warm bath will boost your circulation and loosen tight muscles, both of which will reduce pain. It may be temporary relief, however, so don’t rely on a bubbly soak in the bath for complete removal of pain.
Drinking water before, during, and after your workout is essential to prevent too much pain from occurring. Keeping nicely hydrated will reduce the chances of muscle cramp and decrease muscle soreness by keeping inflammation at bay. It is best to choose water to drink than anything else. Coffee and tea are dehydrating, and soda dehydrates but also contains a lot of sugar or chemical sweeteners, neither of which are good for you.
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