Tight and sore muscles the day after a tough workout is something experienced commonly by many athletes. The tightness you feel the next day is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness. Exactly why the muscles become sore is still unknown, but may be caused from lactic acid build up or tiny tears in the muscle fibers. You can reduce the incidence of DOMS by slowly increasing your amount of exercise and not overdoing it. If you experience DOMS, there are some ways to alleviate the tightness and reduce muscle aches and pains.
Warm up for workouts properly by slowly walking, jogging or cycling for ten minutes prior to starting your normal pace. Warm-ups prepare muscles for activities and may reduce the onset of post-exercise pain.
Stretch after the warm-up when muscles are ready to work. Hold stretches instead of bouncing. Stretch to the point of feeling tension but not pain. Know what body parts tend to get tighter after your workouts and focus on those muscles when stretching.
Stretch after the workout. This elongates muscles after repeated contraction, helping relax muscles.
Hydrate before exercise and rehydrate during and immediately after working out.
Increase workout intensity over time, building up muscles to prepare for bigger challenges. Doing too much too soon, especially if it is a new activity, will lead to soreness and possibly injury.
Massage the tight muscle to increase blood flow to the area. Blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to help muscles heal and rebuild.
Drink water or sports drinks to replenish lost water and electrolytes. Muscles need salt, potassium, magnesium and calcium to perform optimally. These are lost in strenuous exercise and may not have been replaced in post-exercise rehydration.
Perform light activity to warm up the sore muscle for five to ten minutes. Follow this up with a gentle stretch to maintain mobility and range of motion in muscles.
Apply a heating pad to further increase blood flow to sore muscles. Use heat two to three times daily for 20 minutes at a time. Muscle tightness should go away within 3 days. If it persists, see your doctor to make sure there isn't a more significant injury.
- If you experience sharp pains during or after exercise, seek medical attention.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.