Ways To Decrease Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness can be minor, with a slight feeling of,…”Yeah, I worked out yesterday”,…to just plain excruciating. You know what I’m talking about, everyone’s done it from time to time, the “OMG, What did I do to myself, I don’t think I can go back to the gym for days.” Kind of muscle soreness. There are some simple things you can do that will decrease the likelihood that you’ll be sore after your next workout. Because let’s face it, who wants to go back to the gym when you feel like your body is one big muscle cramp.

WARM UP

Yeah, it sort of eats into the tiny amount of time you’ve set aside each day to workout. It feels like you’re wasting your time. But I always tell people, your muscles are like rubber bands. If you take a rubber band, put it in the freezer so it’s nice and cold, then stretch it – the rubber band breaks. But if you were to warm it up first, pulling at it slowly, then the rubber band will stretch to full capacity.

DON’T OVER DO IT

Especially if you’re first starting, or getting back into it after a lengthy hiatus, we all sometimes jump in with both feet – and then regret it the next morning. Work into a routine in steps. Start out with something that maybe feels a little easier, see how you do, and then increase it the next day. Just make sure your body is up to the challenge. I know that after a long break, I want to jump back into heavy lifts and lots of lunges,…and my body can do it. But the next day I nearly always regret it. So if you’ve been away from the weights for awhile, maybe just step in one toe at a time so-to-speak.

STRETCH

Stretch yourself out immediately after every workout. Yes, it takes time, especially if you do it right. But it’s worth it. Stretching not only decreases muscle soreness, but it helps keep your muscles healthy. I’m a person who is diligent about my warm-ups but I sometimes cut my stretching short. So I get it – you’re done exercising, you just want to get on with your day. BUT, I’ve tried really hard to think of stretching as a treat, a massage almost. Just taking deep breaths, and trying to enjoy the simple task of easing out of my workout. Try to hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds, and make sure to feel the stretch the entire time, meaning, if the stretch sensation starts to abate, reach for a deeper stretch.

HYDRATE

Water, water, water, water. Drink water. It’s not hard to carry around a water bottle, not only when you’re exercising, but also all day, every day. Just. Drink. Water.

FOAM ROLLER

Using a foam roller is essentially a more affordable way to give yourself a deep tissue massage. By slowing rolling over various areas of your body, you’ll help speed up the healing and recovery process after your workout.

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Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease

February is Heart Health Month. Now is a good time to evaluate your daily activities and find ways to be kind to your heart. You can make some easy changes to your lifestyle that will go a long way to improving your heart health.

  1. Don’t Smoke – I know, this one is a no-brainer, and for smokers out there, I understand that it is easier said than done. But remember, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Talk to your doctor if you need help quitting – there are ways to do it.
  2. Get Up And Move – As someone who also sits a lot at work, this one is also hard to do. Your risk of heart failure increases, even if you exercise, if you sit around a lot. I actually set a timer right on my computer to remind me to get up and move around every hour. Every little bit helps.
  3. Exercise – Exercise doesn’t have to be traditional, gym style exercise. Pick something you like and do that. Whether it’s simply walking the dogs, playing tennis, or even gardening. Get active and stay active. Whatever you do, if you pick something you enjoy doing, you will be more apt to stick with it.
  4. Healthy Eating – Limit saturated fats and salt in your diet. Instead, go for fruits and veggies, and lean protein. You will stay full longer with high-protein meals and a more colorful plate will give your body the essential vitamins and minerals it needs. Again, and I can’t stress this enough,…if you like it, you will stick with it. Don’t pick a meal plan that you can’t stand just because it is healthy. Eat healthy foods,…but make sure you like what you’re eating.
  5. Sleep – Studies have shown that long-term sleep problems increase your risk of heart failure. Do what you can to try and sleep well so you wake rested and refreshed. As someone with a small child, I understand that this is sometimes not feasible. But do what you can to try and get enough sleep.
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