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Crusin' with a NEW Trim Body in 5 Weeks Time!

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This Month In Body
  • Stress Relief
    While some let stress build up to the point of emotional, physical, or relational problems, others have learned effective ways of dealing with it. One way to prevent stress from—well, stressing you out, is through regular physical activity. Read >>
  • Soothing Your Sore Self
    You know the feeling. You’ve not worked out for a few weeks and you finally head to the gym. The next morning you have trouble getting out of bed and walking across the room because your muscles are sore and stiff. Read >>
  • If the Shoe Fits
    When it comes to workout equipment, you may be surprised that your most important item is not an iPod, digital pedometer, or trendy workout clothes. Top priority is given to what is protecting the bottom of your feet—your shoes. Read >>
  • Guide to 5Ks
    If you’re new to running, a 5K is the perfect distance to work towards. Play your cards right, and a couple months is all it takes to be ready to run this far. Read >>
Health and Fitness News
Chandra Young is now a professional Fitness Trainer

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Soothing Your Sore Self

Is muscle soreness inevitable following a workout…or can you prevent it?

You know the feeling. You’ve not worked out for a few weeks and you finally head to the gym. Or maybe you change things up and try a new workout or have an extra strenuous workout. You may even attempt a chore around the house you haven’t performed in some time.

Whatever it is, you work muscles that haven’t been used in a while or use them in new ways. The next morning you have trouble getting out of bed and walking across the room because your muscles are sore and stiff. While this soreness is normal, it can be uncomfortable and slow you down for a day or two.

Known as delayed onset muscle soreness, (a.k.a. DOMS), this reaction to new movements is a serious pain. It happens when you increase your muscle exertion and tiny tears occur in your muscle fibers and connective tissues. As these heal, your muscles will become stronger and larger. By continuing the same movements, your muscles will get used to the exertion and in the future you won’t experience soreness.

Don’t let DOMS keep you from exercising or from enjoying exercise. Keep reading to find out how to prevent soreness and what to do if your best efforts fail.

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. - Lance Armstrong

Stop It First

Nothing seems to be 100-percent effective in preventing muscle soreness following new or intense exercise. But there are ways to lessen your chances and lessen the pain. If you’re new to exercise, the best way to avoid DOMS is by starting off slowly and then gradually increasing your intensity each subsequent time you exercise. By doing this, your muscles won’t tear as easily and will have time to adapt to their new requirements. Don’t go more than a few days between exercising or your muscles will have to readapt each time.

Another way to lessen the impact on your muscles is to start each exercise session with a short warm-up period. This could mean walking before you jog or cycling at a slow pace before you increase your speed. Despite what was once thought, stretching before your workout doesn’t prevent injury or soreness. Instead, stretch after your workout, when your muscles are warm and loose.

If you’re worried about sore muscles, you may be tempted to take a nonsteroidal drug prior to your workout. This, however, doesn’t protect your muscles from soreness. Quite the contrary. It may actually be harmful to your intestines.

A final method to fend off soreness is to eat well. Doing this ensures your muscles have the energy they need for exercise. Fuel your muscles with a high-carb snack or meal prior to your workout, and then replenish your muscles with protein following your workout. For an added DOMS-preventing boost, some believe a diet high in vitamin C does the trick, so give it a try.

Stopping Not Work?

On those days you do experience sore muscles, you’ll need a good way to relieve your pain. A hot bath or heating pad may feel nice, but they won’t do anything to heal your damaged muscles. If your muscles feel tight, try soaking in a warm bath sprinkled with two cups of Epsom salts.

Indirectly icing your sore muscles for 10 to 15 minutes every hour with an ice pack covered in a thin towel may reduce inflammation and provide some relief. Taking acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug may also be helpful. A gentle massage may also feel great on tight, sore muscles.

Some have found relief from drinking tart cherry juice. The antioxidants in this fruit may lessen muscle aches and speed recovery.

But if your muscle pain comes on suddenly or is unbearable, you may have injured yourself and need a doctor’s attention. Call your doctor if your pain is severe or if it lasts more than a couple days.