You finish a run and hop in your car and next thing you know, you are in your driveway but can barely move to get into your house. This scene is common post-exercise. The sensations that set in immediately after strenuous exercise or activity as an achy, stiffness that make it hard to move.
What are the Causes?
The most common culprit of muscle soreness is an accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles. Lactic acid is a byproduct of muscle metabolism which occurs during vigorous exercise. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the technical term for irritated muscles that cause discomfort or soreness. DOMS can result in difficulties walking, a reduction in a range of motion, and decreased strength.
Another cause of sore muscles is swelling. Immediately following an activity, your taxed muscles swell due to an increase in white blood cells, prostaglandins, and nutrients rushing to your muscles to repair the damage that occurred during your workout. In fact, strength is built by taxing your muscles which receive millions of microscopic tears and then repairing.
This is why inflammation often happens after an activity.
Methods of Relief
To relieve sore muscles, the following are great ways to bring about relief:
- Stretching - Stretching before and after a workout can loosen muscles and aid in preventing injury.
- Massage - Massage is an excellent method for reducing DOMS and facilitating a quicker recovery.
- Rest - An often overlooked component of an active lifestyle, rest gives your muscles time to recover on their own.
- Hydration - Drink plenty of water before and after any exercise to hydrate and maintain proper organ function.