I want to share with you a few ways to properly recover after a workout in order to help reduce the effects of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Some muscle soreness is a good thing! It means that you are getting stronger. During a workout, we stress the muscles and so the fibers begin to break down. The fibers then begin to repair themselves and become stronger. It takes a full 36-48 hours for your muscles to recover which is why recovery days are essential! The only way we can actually see our muscles grow and get stronger is by allowing our bodies the time to properly recover between workouts. There are things we can begin doing right after a workout to help promote a quicker recovery, while also decreasing the amount of soreness. Here are some things you can and should do during the recovery phase:
1) Drink Water and Stay Hydrated! The more water and electrolytes you drink post-workout, the less sore you will be. This is because when we drink water, it helps keep the blood flowing to all of the organs of the body and it helps rid the body of toxins, specifically "Lactic Acid". Lactic Acid build-up is those tight knots or "kinks" (usually found in the neck, shoulder, and back regions) that the massage therapist will spend the entire therapy session on trying to work out. We usually experience a lot of tension in these regions so the more water you can drink now, the less "knots" and "kinks" you will experience later.
2) Foam Rolling. There are so many different types of foam rollers out there and it can become a bit overwhelming. Each one serves a different purpose. If you have never owned a foam roller, then I recommend just going for a basic smooth surface foam roller (preferably a larger less dense one). A foam roller is so great for stretching out the fascia (connective tissue that wraps around the muscle groups, tendons, and organs) and lengthening the muscles. It is also great for relieving the soreness we experience after a tough workout. You can roll before and after a workout, as well as on active recovery days. Even if you don't workout regularly, a foam roller is great for rolling out those sore muscles experienced from day to day stresses or after a bad nights sleep (we have all been there). You can buy foam rollers pretty much anywhere these days (TJ Maxx, Walmart, Target, Marshalls, Amazon etc.). Click HERE to find one made by AtivaFit that I would highly recommend. Check out the Foam rolling session in the on demand videos to follow along with Trainer Jazz as she shows you how to use it.
3) Invest in a Massage Gun! When a member of my fitness class first recommended I try out a massage gun, I was apprehensive. All I can say is WOW! It literally feels like Heaven! You can seriously feel the soreness and tension "shake" away. They are not the most affordable option but I promise you will not regret the purchase. I seriously feel like I am able to bounce back much quicker into my next workouts! I immediately went online and bought one. Now full disclosure- I tried finding an affordable one with good reviews, but have since invested in a better quality one. Here is the Sonic that I have! There are some other affordable ones out there as well so just do some research. However if you are able and willing to spend a little more I highly recommend it, as you do pay for the quality. I did some research for you and here is what is recommended for Best Massage Guns of 2020 according to Business Insider. The "Best Overall Gun" is Theragun G3 Percussive. The "Best High Intensity Massage Gun" is TimTam Power Massager. The "Best High End Massage Gun" is Theragun G3PRO. So figure out if you are looking for quiet, high powered, high end, or affordable and then just pick one. You really can't go wrong and will love it either way. Not sure how to use a massage gun? Click the link to see a short video Massage Gun 101!
4) Get a Massage! Most places offer Swedish, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Sports, and so many more. If you don't like being touched by strangers then this would most likely not be for you and that is okay!
5) Hot Bubble Bath. You can use Epsom salts for the sore muscles and lavender oil for relaxation.
6) Sleep! Try your best to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. When we sleep, our body begins repairing itself. We need sleep to properly function. So try your best to get your ZZZ's!
I recommend starting with just one strategy listed above and then eventually working your way up to more once you get comfortable. Don't get overwhelmed. Make it fun. And most importantly, I am here if you have any questions at all. Your body works hard each and every day and it deserves to take a time out!