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Giving Your Body a Rest: 5 Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness for Athletes

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Athletes routinely undergo intense workouts, which often lead to muscle pain and stiffness. Anyone who has ever pushed his or her body to the limit knows that the soreness doesn’t peak immediately after a heavy workout, but one to two days later. This is due to a phenomenon known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Thankfully, serious athletes and everyday fitness enthusiasts alike can take a few simple steps to relieve the symptoms of DOMS. Read on to find out how.

1. Get a Massage

Regular massages on Earthlite massage tables don’t just relieve existing soreness. They also help the body fight off the negative impacts of DOMS. That’s because the muscles of athletes who indulge in regular massages produce more blood vessels and less scar tissue than those of regular gym-goers. The best time to schedule a sports massage is immediately following a workout, but getting a massage anytime in the two days after a strenuous workout will still help to offset the effects of DOMS.

2. Consume Plenty of Antioxidants

An antioxidant-rich diet can help athletes avoid soreness during typical training. Don’t just bulk up on antioxidants before a big competition or a strenuous workout. Try to incorporate them into a daily diet to improve muscle recovery and healing and maintain overall wellness.

The reason antioxidants make such a big difference when it comes to muscle recovery is that they have anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation also reduces pain, meaning, in this case, that it decreases the soreness associated with DOMS.

3. Drink Some Coffee

While antioxidant-rich foods need to be incorporated into athletes’ daily diets, those concerned about workout fatigue and DOMS can prepare one or two cups of coffee and drink them an hour in advance of a grueling workout. Studies show that caffeine ingestion can significantly reduce muscle soreness after workouts and can even decrease athletes’ perception of soreness in the days after a strenuous workout. Coffee also helps to keep athletes hydrated, which can help to prevent injuries and reduce the negative impacts of DOMS.

4. Warm-Up and Cool Down

Prepare the muscles before a strenuous workout by performing some warm-up exercises and stretches. Start with five to ten minutes of light cardio before a strenuous session to increase blood flow to the muscles and loosen them up, then do the same after the workout is finished. By reducing their heart rates and breathing slowly, athletes can give their muscles time to return to their normal state without causing soreness.

5. Perform Recovery Workouts

It’s fine to take rest days and cut back on strenuous workouts, but serious athletes shouldn’t take those days as an opportunity to lie around on the couch binge-watching Netflix. Instead, they should incorporate light activities for active recoveries such as stretches, yoga, brisk walks, or swimming. This keeps blood pumping to the muscles to aid in recovery without placing additional strain on an already taxed body.

The Bottom Line

Serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts almost always struggle with DOMS after prolonged, strenuous workouts, but they don’t have to let it slow them down. Follow the advice above to avoid the worst effects of DOMS and keep that exercise schedule on-track to ensure optimal performance. Eating well, staying hydrated, and treating the body right make it easier to heal sore muscles, helping athletes avoid injury and stick to their workout schedules.

 

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