Muscle soreness is normal after a workout, but it’s something you should aim to decrease as much as possible. Sore muscles are muscles that have been worked hard and are now tight and full of lactic acid. Also, the muscle fibers have suffered micro-tears, which is perfectly normal, and the muscle itself needs to start repairing itself. In essence, this is how you grow firmer and bigger muscles; they break down and repair themselves to be stronger and more capable of handling your next workout.
Still, it’s not normal to be sore for days after a workout – particularly if you exercise regularly. This indicates a problem with muscle recovery, so here are a few ways you can speed up your body’s natural recovery process:
Drink lots of water
It seems that, no matter what we’re talking about, drinking lots of water is a solution! It is so important to stay hydrated, even more so following a workout. Water can help to flush out toxins from your blood and muscles that build up during exercise. Most notably, it can get rid of a lot of lactic acid, which is what causes the burning sore sensation in your muscles. You also lose a lot of fluid when you work out, putting more emphasis on the need for hydration!
Massage & stretch your muscles
Giving your muscles a massage and stretching them out will aid in the recovery process. When you exercise, your muscles get shorter and tighter as they contract. This tightness can create knots that are pretty sore and painful, especially when left as they are. Stretching after your workouts can help to return the muscles to their normal length, preventing a lot of tightness and soreness. Massaging your muscles – either with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or percussive therapy device – will further enhance the benefits. Massaging drives blood to the area, improving circulation and flushing out lactic acid once more. It also relaxes the muscles and prevents stiffness, making it easier to recover.
Try IV therapy
If you’re serious about muscle recovery and find it harder to recover as you get older, IV therapy can be useful. There has been some research that suggests NAD IV therapy is successful in increasing your body’s ability to recover and repair itself following bouts of exercise. NAD is a coenzyme found in the body that helps with loads of different processes – including muscle recovery. Our levels of this deplete as we get older, which is why supplementing it through an IV can be very helpful. Alternatively, some people go for hydration IVs that will rehydrate you following a workout, aiding in muscle recovery once more.
Ultimately, being sore the day after a workout is very normal. However, you shouldn’t be extremely sore for many days following your exercise routines. Ideally, you’ll have minor soreness for a day, then be fine. It’s all about optimizing your muscle recovery process, and the three ideas mentioned above will help you recover faster and be sore for less time!