There’s no doubt that working out is an extremely beneficial activity that offers a wealth of health-boosting effects, but anyone who’s started a routine from scratch or pushed themselves especially hard at the gym knows that soreness can also make the process somewhat unpleasant. Of course, soreness is also a necessary part of improving your fitness level, since it’s damage to the muscles that ultimately leads to greater strength, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for pain in the wake of an exercise routine. There are any number of effective, accessible ways to address this issue and make yourself more comfortable, even as you push your body to its limits, but many still wonder, “How do you help sore muscles after exercise?” To find out, keep reading as the team at aminoVITAL®, makers of amino acid recovery supplements, offer their take on this perennial question.
What to Do If Your Muscles Are Sore After Exercise
Though we’re told time and again to “feel the burn,” equally valid is a desire to simply not be in pain after exercise. After all, you’ve put in the hard work; why force yourself to suffer afterward? If you’re one of those who prefers to alleviate muscle soreness instead of letting your limbs burn, know that there’s help available, and it’s probably closer than you think.
Injury or Regular Soreness?
The first question you should ask yourself before starting treatment for sore muscles is whether the feeling is what you’d consider a “normal” level of soreness or whether it goes beyond what you usually experience. Intense soreness could indicate an injury – especially when accompanied by bruising, weakness, or numbness – so consider seeing a doctor or physical therapist if your symptoms seem extreme or persist for more than a day or two, as you may require medical attention.
Treating Muscle Soreness at Home
Assuming you’re only battling a standard level of soreness, a few simple techniques practiced in the comfort of your own home should be sufficient to help with sore muscles after exercise. One of the most common methods is the familiar “RICE” (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) technique for treating minor injuries, with which most athletes are familiar to some degree. In some cases, a bit of gentle stretching may provide a degree of relief, as can getting a massage, which is believed to increase the flow of blood to the affected tissue and aid the healing process. Some over-the-counter medications may also help reduce the pain and fight inflammation, but you may want to ask your doctor whether the use of OTC painkillers is safe for you.
Steps to Help Limit or Prevent Sore Muscles After Exercise
As with many issues related to the body, prevention is often the best policy when dealing with sore muscles after exercise. Although it may prove impossible to eliminate all your pain, there are a number of ways in which you can guard against the worst of the discomfort, starting with a pre-exercise warmup to get your blood flowing and your joints loose. Many experts suggest that you save any stretching for after exercise, though the verdict is not yet clear on the efficacy of this suggestion. Additional tips regarding how to approach your routine and limit soreness include:
- Gradually build up the intensity of your exercise, rather than going from zero to 60 right away.
- Work on improving your posture when standing or sitting.
- Try to stay at a healthy body weight, as extra pounds can mean extra strain on the muscle.
Nutritional Support to Help Sore Muscles
Along with the simple suggestions outlined above, another effective way to help prevent sore muscles is to give your body nutritional support during and after exercise. More specifically, aiming to get more of the amino acids that protect and repair muscle tissue can go a long way toward stopping soreness before it starts, and these compounds carry a number of other benefits as well. When looking at amino acid supplements, consider those that contain three specific amino acids – the BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine – along with glutamine.
While the BCAAs are associated with a host of exercise-related benefits, from improving muscle growth to fighting fatigue, some of their most well-researched effects have to do with preventing muscle damage and soreness. Whether used as a pre- or mid-workout supplement, studies1 have shown that BCAA supplementation “effectively reduces the muscle soreness” experienced after exercise, in the words of one researcher2, and may even limit inflammation as well. Further study3 has backed up these claims, leading many to conclude that BCAA supplements can be quite advantageous for those looking to help sore muscles.
These three compounds aren’t the only ones that aid those struggling with sore muscles. Glutamine, another important amino acid, has been the subject of numerous studies4,5 establishing its benefits, specifically as they relate to soreness and recovery. Researchers have demonstrated that supplementing with glutamine can not only help with sore muscles, but it can also speed up the recovery of strength after intense exercise, allowing a person to hit their next routine that much harder.
Get Help with Sore Muscles and Speed Up Your Recovery with Amino Acid Supplements from aminoVITAL®
Whether through our mid-workout Action mix or our post-workout Rapid Recovery supplement, aminoVITAL® is poised to provide the amino acids your muscles need to combat soreness and regain their strength. Our products offer five amino acids – the three BCAAs, plus glutamine and arginine – to offer comprehensive nutritional support, no matter your fitness goal. Learn more about the benefits of aminoVITAL® supplements by visiting us online or calling (888) 264-6673 today.