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Why Do I Feel Stiff After Walking & How To Relax The Muscles After Walking?

Why do I Feel Stiff after Walking?

Trigger factors that lead to stiff and sore muscles after your walking sessions could be varied. Let us make a summation of some of the probable reasons which can trigger the problem:

Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as a reason to Feel Stiff after Walking:

DOMS is one of the reasons behind muscle stiffness. This condition appears if there is microscopic wear and tear in your muscles due to either enhanced walking intensity or an augmented tenure of walking. For example, you have increased your walking speed or increased the daily walking tenure by 30 mins all of a sudden. DOMS is a condition where your muscle fibers are broken and readjusted so that they can get conditioned for a stronger body. (4) Normally, you will experience DOMS 24 hours after at least 45-60 minutes of walking.

Lactic Acid Buildup as a Reason for Feeling Stiff after Walking:

Often when you are working out in intensive lapses, aerobic respiration is not enough to release the adequate amount of fuel or energy needed for the exercise. This is when your body has to turn to the process of anaerobic respiration to provide the needed fuel for your body. Lactic acid is the by-product of anaerobic respiration. (5)

When your body produces more lactic acid than it can absorb or remove, it accumulates in the muscles. This can lead to a burning sensation in your muscles. It happens when you are working out or walking at an intense pace.

Improper Routine can Cause Feeling Stiff after Walking:

For every type of exercise, you need to follow a proper pattern, use the right gears and accessories that will support you in the workout pattern, and will protect you from injuries. Walking is no different. While walking as well, you must wear the right shoes, choose the right terrain, and also walk in a proper posture. (4) In case any of this is not maintained, you will end up with stiff and hurt muscles.

How to Relax the Muscles after Walking?

There are several ways through which you can relax the stiff muscles:

  • Take Rest to Relax the Stiff Muscles: Once your muscles are stiff and sore from walking take good rest. If you feel it’s very stiff, do not walk the next day. However, do not stop the routine totally. (6)
  • Stretch to Relax your Stiff Muscles: Often stretching the muscles that are stiff and sore in a light manner can help to relax the pain and stiffness. (7)
  • Heat Therapy as a Way to Relax Stiff Muscles: You can apply heat therapy and massages like hot water bags or electric heat packs, hot towel massage and sauna massage. It helps to improve the blood flow in the region and provides a greater amount of oxygen to the area. This can provide you with faster relief in the affected areas. (6, 7)
  • Cold Therapy: Applying a dry cold compress in the area can also help to get relief from the pain and stress. (7)
  • Drink Plenty of Water to Relax the Stiff Muscles: Water controls body temperature, transports essential nutrients, and keeps the muscles hydrated. Without water, the muscles cannot work efficiently. Drink plenty of water to drain out the toxins and help the stiff muscles relax. (6)


While walking, maintain a brisk pace. Walk comfortably in easy steps. Ideally, you should be able to talk while you are walking briskly. Try to get a partner while walking. You can listen to music with a headphone attached to your smartphone. Take rest for a while if you feel exhausted. This will make your walking sessions all the more enjoyable.


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 13, 2022

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