If you’re new to exercise or have simply tried something new, you may experience muscle soreness. It’s that tight and aching pain that creeps up on you 12-48 hours after a workout and makes even the simplest of tasks uncomfortable – from sitting into your office chair after squats and lunges or reaching for a glass after blitzing your abs.
The technical term for post-exercise soreness is DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) and lasts for up to three days (don’t let this put you off). It’s super common and you can easily reduce its intensity or discomfort altogether – woohoo! Here’s how:
1. Get rolling
A foam roller is one of the best ways to cool down and massage your muscles after a workout. It helps to reduce DOMS significantly by breaking up adhesions and scar tissue. From calves to quads to glutes, trust me your muscles are in for a serious treat!
Foam rolling also increases blood flow, improves your range of movement and can help decrease injury risk – and you only need to do it for five minutes after your sweat sesh.
2. Eat more fatty acids
When your muscles are sore, inflammation can be part of the problem. But you can help reduce this by eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (I love how food can help heal us). Salmon, tuna, avocado, walnuts, tahini, eggs and avocado are all packed with anti-inflammatory goodness.
If you’re stuck for recipe inspiration, the delicious TIFFXO meal planner boasts all of these ingredients to help your body recover and thrive!
3. Drink up
Never underestimate the power of good old H2O. It plays a massive role in both muscle repair and growth. When you work out, your muscles may experience minor injuries or tears (all normal, so don’t freak out). To fix these little injuries, your body needs to synthesize protein which is the building block of muscle. But to do this, your cells need water – and plenty of it.
Always train with a full water bottle and ensure you drink water before and after. If you’re bored of the flavour, just add fresh lemon, orange and cucumbers slices. A few sprigs of fresh mint is another way I love to pimp up my water bottle.
4. Ice ice baby
Cold therapy is an effective way to help prevent DOMS or reduce discomfort once it’s kicked in. It works by reducing blood flow to the muscle, thus reducing inflammation. If your legs are paying the price, try elevating them too (it has the same effect).
To ensure you’re always ready to show DOMS who’s boss, keep a cold pack in the freezer. If that fails, empty a tray of ice blocks into a plastic bag then wrap with a clean tea towel so it’s soft on your skin.
5. Keep moving
Moving may be the last thing on your mind, but it can help speed up recovery. And I’m not suggesting you go back-to-back with another intense workout, but easing yourself into gentle movement will help your body bounce back.
If you’re sore from HIIT or HIRT (High-Intensity Resistance Training) treat your muscles to light stretching or a yoga class – like my TIFFXO Flow classes. They’ll lengthen and loosen your body, increase blood flow and leave you feeling completely energised.