The morning after a big race or tough workout, you may open your eyes, stand up, wobble around, then fall right back down into your cozy bed. (Sometimes I start walking down the stairs and feel like my legs will give out under me!) You could have a strong case of the DOMS…aka delayed-onset muscle soreness. This soreness can last between 3-5 days and it is typically the most painful 24-72 hours after exercising. The American College of Sports Medicine describes this process occurring due to tiny tears to the muscle fibers from exercises that cause the muscles to lengthen while force is applied. Instead of waiting it out, give these methods a shot to help you deal with the DOMS!
1. Drink Pineapple Juice! Delicious pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain which helps relax inflamed muscles and has anti-swelling effects. It is even linked to lower pain and is a great alternative to over-the-counter pain medications. Instead of drinking the juice, you can simply eat it or even make a smoothie!
2. Take a Salt Bath! The magical mineral in Epsom Salt is Magnesium, which is absorbed through the skin while soaking in the bath. It can also be taken orally, but who would really turn down a relaxing bath? After hard runs, lactic acid builds up, causing sore muscles. The magnesium helps to flush lactic acid buildup, allowing the muscles to relax and relieve pain. Simply add 2-3 cups of Epsom Salt to your warm bath and soak for at least 15 minutes.
3. Roll with it! Foam rolling is a form of self-massage that helps to release muscle tightness and promotes muscle elasticity. Tighter areas or “knots” can be somewhat uncomfortable while rolling due to the pressure, but it should never be too painful. There are many resources available online to learn different methods of foam rolling to focus on specific areas of the body.
4. Munch on Turmeric root! Whether you slice it up raw on a salad, blend it into your smoothie, brew herbal tea, or take it as a supplement, your body will thank you! Turmeric supports the body’s inflammatory response, is rich in antioxidants, and contains Curcumin which has pain relieving effects. Curcumin can also be taken on its own as a supplement.
5. Try the RICE Method! Otherwise known as Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, this treatment is typically used for minor injuries, but it is also effective for soreness. The RICE Method reduces swelling, promotes flexibility, relieves pain, and forces you to chill out and take a break. Instead of standard ice, I enjoy using a bag of frozen peas or corn!