How to Relieve Post-Exercise Pain

September 9, 2013

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Fitness ClassYou just had an amazing workout. You took the intensity up a notch, held a plank longer than usual, and maybe even ran an extra mile. You feel great, accomplished, like you can tackle any task thrown your way. But the next day, the reality of going the extra distance strikes???you’re incredibly sore!

Your first reaction may be to reach for those anti-inflammatory OTC meds, but don’t pop those pills so fast. Ibuprofen isn’t the only solution. There are more natural ways to relieve post-exercise pain. You won’t complain about this one: Get a massage.

If you think your discomfort is more serious than post-exercise pain, see a physician to assess the cause. However, studies show massage can help repair damaged muscle tissue after a hard sweat session.

Researchers administered massage therapy to 11 young male participants after 70 minutes of exhaustive exercise. The study found massage reduced inflammation and helped repair damaged muscle tissue more quickly than those who did not receive a massage.

Now you have a reason to get a much-needed rub down. Search the Internet for a spa in your area. Depending on the spa, a one-hour massage can range from $60 to $150. Out of your price range? No sweat, you can reap the benefits without spending a dime.

Make friends with the foam roller. That long, tube-looking equipment that seems to gather dust at your gym is actually very useful. Use your body weight to roll the foam roller over tight muscles???quadriceps, IT band, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, lower back, upper back, etc.???for about 60 seconds, and pause at areas that feel tighter than other areas. If you’re not a member of a gym, you can purchase a foam roller online for $10 to $20.

Use a tennis ball. You can use a tennis ball the same way you use a foam roller by rolling it over tight muscles. For tough-to-reach spots, like your back, place the tennis ball between your back and the wall and guide the tennis ball to work out knots.

Ask your partner to give you a massage. You don’t have to have a professional massage to reap the benefits. Your partner is likely a capable masseur or masseuse. Promise to return the favor and everyone wins!

Take time warm up and cool down before and after a workout. Research shows that those who warm up have both reduced risk of injury as well as improved athletic performance. Warming up loosens muscles and tendons and increases core body temperature, preparing you for exercise. Begin your exercise session by doing the exercise you are going to do at a reduced intensity for 5 to 10 minutes. So, if you’re planning on jogging, walk for 5 to 10 minutes before starting your jog and gradually increase intensity. Do the same thing when you cool down. Slowly decrease the intensity of your workout and spend 5 to 10 minutes stretching to increase blood flow to your muscles and decrease risk of injury.

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