Wednesday , January 27 2021

Feeling sore after a workout? Here’s what science suggests that helps (and what doesn’t)

Have you been to the gym again with the relaxation of COVID restrictions? Or run again, run a bike or team sports?

As many of you have already experienced, the inevitable muscle soreness that occurs after a break can be a tough hurdle to overcome.

Here’s what causes muscle soreness and how best to deal with it.

What is muscle soreness and why does it occur?

Some muscle soreness after a workout is normal. But it can be exhausting and prevent you from further exercise. The scientific term used to describe these pains is delayed muscle soreness or DOMS, which occurs as a result of mechanical disruption of muscle fibers, often referred to as “microfractures”.

This damage causes swelling and inflammation of the muscle fibers, as well as the release of substances that sensitize the nerves in the muscles, causing pain when the muscle contracts or stretches.

Usually this pain peaks 24-72 hours after a workout. The type of exercise that causes the most muscle soreness is “eccentric” exercises, where the force is created by the muscle as it lengthens – think about walking down or the phase of lowering the biceps curl.

An athlete who suffers from shoulder pain
Soreness for a few days after exercise is normal and actually leads to muscle strengthening.

There is good news about this pain. When a muscle cell recovers after this “microtrauma,” it is amplified and can produce that force again without the same damage. Thus, although this process of strengthening is initially painful, it is very important for our body to adapt to our new training regime.

The inflammatory component of this process is necessary to strengthen and adapt muscle tissue, so repeated use of anti-inflammatory drugs to combat associated pain can impair the training effect.

Recovery gadgets will bring me out of misery? Not necessarily

Before we even think about recovery after a workout, we first need to remember to start progressing slowly and gradually. The body adapts to exercise, so if it was minimal during the blockage, your muscles, tendons and joints will need time to get used to resuming physical activity. And don’t forget to warm up by increasing your heart rate and blood flowing to your muscles before each session, even if it’s a social touch game!

Read more: Returning to the gym? Here’s how to avoid injury after isolating the coronavirus

Even if you start slowly, you still suffer from muscle soreness and you may know how to reduce it. Nowadays, there are many new devices and technologies for recovery that supposedly help. But the jury still does not understand some of these methods.

Some studies show benefits. Analyzes and reviews of some of the most common recovery strategies were conducted, including ice baths, massages, foam rollers, and compression garments. These reviews typically confirm their use as an effective short-term post-workout recovery strategy.

So if you have the time or money – go for it! Make sure your ice baths aren’t too cold, somewhere around ten minutes 10-15 is probably about.

And a word of caution in ice baths: don’t rely too much on them in the long run, especially if you’re a power athlete. New research has shown that they can adversely affect muscle, stifling some recovery and recovery processes after resistance training.

A man floating in the float side
New recovery methods and tools are being sold everywhere, but most of them require further research.

But the effectiveness of other recovery strategies remains unclear. Techniques such as restorative shoes or sleeves, float sides and cryotherapy chambers are newer on the recovery scene. Although there have been promising conclusions, further research is needed before we can make an accurate judgment.

However, all of these recovery devices have one thing in common: they make you “feel” better. Although research does not always show the physical benefits of these methods and devices, but often their use will lead to perceived lower levels of muscle soreness, pain and fatigue.

Is it just a placebo effect? Perhaps, but the placebo effect is still very powerful – so if you believe the product will help you improve your well-being, it may be at least on some level.

The “big stones” of recovery

Some of the above methods can be categorized as “one percent” recovery. But to recover properly, we need to focus on the “big breeds” of recovery. These include adequate sleep and optimal nutrition.

Sleep is one of the best recovery strategies in our country, because that is when most of the recovery and recovery of muscles takes place. Getting regular sleep and getting about eight hours of sleep a night is a good idea.

An elderly lady in bed is asleep
Ultimately, proper sleep and optimal nutrition are the best ways to recover after a workout.

When it comes to nutrition, the exact strategy will vary by person, and you should always seek the advice of a qualified professional, but keep in mind three Rs:

  • refuel (replace carbs after a workout)

  • recover (protein intake will help in muscle recovery and recovery)

  • rehydrate (increase fluid intake, especially during these summer months!).

Enjoy the new freedom as you return to sports and play sports, but be sure to focus on a slow return and make sure you eat and sleep healthy before spending your hard-earned money on designed recovery tools that you may see how to use athletes on instagram.

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