Lisa Reed, special to wtop.com
WASHINGTON - If you hit your back-to-workout routine just as the kids went back to school, chances are, you could be feeling a bit sore now. But don't let that hinder your progress. Here are eight ways you can reduce muscle soreness.
- Move your body: The last thing you may want to do is move more, but
taking a walk and getting up from your office chair will help the sore muscles
loosen up and become less stiff, all around. Moving also increases blood flow and
oxygen to the sore muscles and facilitates the breakdown of lactic acid -- a
by-product that causes the burning sensation in your muscles when your body is
- Warm-up: When working out, always begin with a proper warm up. Getting
your muscles and tendons ready for activity is key to preventing injury.
- Stretch: Stretch each muscle and maintain the stretch for 20 to 30
seconds. Do not bounce your muscles. Rather, hold the position steadily.
- Ice: If a muscle is super sore, or your legs are overtired, a 10-minute
ice bath will do wonders. It might be painful at first, but the cold water breaks
the pain by increasing circulation to your sore areas.
- Massage and roll: If you can't afford a trip to the massage therapist,
help alleviate your pain with a massage from a foam roller or even a tennis ball.
Lightly massage the sore muscle with the roller or the ball, and gradually
increase the depth of the massage. The video below demonstrates foam rolling.
- Flush the soreness away: If you can't quite bear the thought of an
intense ice bath, try the popular "flushing" technique. Run hot water over your
sore muscles for two minutes and then immediately switch to cold water for 30
seconds. Repeat this five times. The back-and-forth of the hot and cold water
opens and closes your blood vessels, which helps to flush the lactic acid from
your sore muscles.
- Embrace the protein: One way to help muscles recover faster is to
refuel with protein. After exhausting your muscles in a workout, replenish your
muscles' energy stores. Try eating a Greek yogurt or making a skinless chicken
- Drink water: Without water, the body will not work like it should.
Dehydration will cause your body to cramp, adding to the overall soreness, so make
sure you are getting plenty of fluids.
How to Foam Roll
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