Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness after Exercising

Before we discuss the ways to relieve muscle soreness, it is important to understand why we get sore muscles. When you do an intensive exercise session, it causes micro-tears in the muscle tissue and this result in the onset of muscle soreness, also called DOMS. Muscle soreness develops after 12-24 hours of tough workout and can stay for 2-3 days. The common symptoms of sore muscles after exercising include stiffness, slight swelling, reduced strength and increased tenderness in the affected muscles.

Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness after Exercising

Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness Immediately After Exercising:

Just after completing the exercise session, one must do the following things to relieve muscle soreness:

Ice Bath: Athletes are strongly advised to go for ice bath for 10 minutes immediately after tough exercising. Cold baths are known to reduce muscle soreness significantly, compared to no intervention or resting for reducing muscle soreness.

Hot Compression to Relieve Muscle Soreness: Few hours post intense fitness regime, apply any heating source or a heating pad. Muscle tightening is a reason for increased muscle pain and heat can stimulate the blood flow as well as loosen up the sore muscles and this really helps in the healing process.

Eat Pineapple: Pineapple has an enzyme called Bromelain that has anti-inflammatory advantages. Even the tart cherries can reduce the body’s inflammation significantly. You can even purchase supplements that contain bromelain online or at a health store.

Ways to Relieve Muscle Soreness the Next Day:

Use Sore Muscles: Against the common belief of giving rest to the muscle when it is sore, one must actually use the sore muscles the next day after a workout in a non-resistant way. This reduces soreness.

Use Ice Bath or Compression: Taking ice bath immediately can reduce muscle soreness instantly post workout but applying ice can ease the soreness the very next day. Ice can reduce inflammation in the muscles too.

Massage: Massage is a great way to reduce sore muscles. If your muscles are sore after an intense workout, then self-massaging can relieve you from the pain.

Foam Roll: Use a foam roller for massaging the sore muscles because it can reduce muscle soreness greatly. Give every muscle group minimum five rolls, beginning from the calves and then slowly make your way to the body. Give additional time on the spots that are sore.

Eat for a Quick Recovery: Ensure that your diet, though it is a calorie deficit, has healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All these foods play vital roles to repair and maintain muscles and reduce soreness in muscles. Use protein supplements strategically, intake protein either two hours after working out or before going to sleep because these are the two times when muscle repair enhances.

Fatty Acids to Relieve Muscle Soreness: For reducing inflammation, consume foods which have omega-3 fatting acids like flax, salmon, walnuts, and avocado. These foods have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce soreness after exercise.

Keep Moving to Reduce Soreness of Muscles: One important thing to reduce muscle soreness is to move. If you keep moving, then it helps your body to reduce soreness. This is known as the recovery workout. You can also go for a yoga class. This activity is called active recovery.

Painkiller to Reduce Muscle Soreness and Pain: Painkiller is the last option. If you feel the pain is intolerable then pop up some vitamin like naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin and these painkillers can reduce the muscle soreness to a large extent. If you take these capsules occasionally for muscle soreness, then it may be fine but do not use them on a regular basis.

Preventing Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness can very well be avoided by following certain preventive measures. These include:

Stretching: Before the workout, go for stretching and warm-up because it reduces the effects of sore muscles. Spend some time for the gentle stretches. If you jump straight to gym without preparation then it increases the chance to get muscle soreness and may pull a ligament, muscle, or a tendon.

Hydration: Hydration before and during workout prevents cramping and reduce inflammation post exercise. Water is the best beverage for the exercises.

Body Posture During Exercise: If you are aware of your posture during exercise then you can prevent the unnecessary muscle soreness. When you select the weights and lift them correctly then you will experience little soreness.


Muscle soreness cannot be avoided if you change the workout routine or intensify your fitness regimen. However, the above-mentioned treatments are simple and these can really help to reduce the soreness and at the same time make you feel better. Moreover, following a proper warm-up and stretching routine before kick-starting the exercise session can prevent a lot of muscle soreness and prevent muscle and ligament injury.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 17, 2018

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