Sore muscles are often the unpleasant aftermath of a training session or competition.
Feeling discomfort at the muscle level is normal and means that the muscles are micro-injured but are also rebuilding.
To speed up the rebuilding process, however, there are some methods you can put into practice. And one that is best avoided.
We often say, jokingly but not too jokingly, that after training the perceived age is proportional to the effort put in. You can start training when you are 35 years old and find yourself being 85 years old later. You drag wearily, everything hurts. You feel every fiber of your body screaming, at least every cell of the muscles you used to run. In addition to hurting you.
This is a normal reaction to physical activity, the more intense, the more strenuous the workout has been: the muscle fibers have micro-injured and hurt, and there is not much that can be done. Sometimes the discomfort lasts a few hours, sometimes it drags on until the next day, and sometimes it is noticeable for more than 24-48 hours.
Can anything be done to alleviate this natural process of muscle fiber crisis and reconstruction? Of course you do, and here we give you some advice on that.
It sounds obvious, and yet when you think about it, it’s not: to allow the fibers to rebuild you have to allow them time and rest. The less you stress them during this phase, the faster the recovery time. Nighttime by the way coincides with peak testosterone production, which helps these processes tremendously.
After workouts, allow yourself to sleep maybe a little longer: ideally 8-9 hours would be ideal, but already sleeping a few hours more than your usual can shorten recovery time.
During sports activity, muscles use sweat to exchange heat with the surrounding air. In other words, sweat is part of the thermoregulatory mechanism that allows them not to overheat too much. Which means that, at the same time, you lose a lot of fluids that you need to replenish as soon as possible, also because dehydration has many negative effects:
– Inability to focus
– Increases blood concentration and density, making it more difficult to transport oxygen to muscles, which is needed for their reconstruction
– It increases the risk of cramping.
Beyond the fact that eating after an intense workout is also a reward (but always with measure!), it is important to be aware that not replenishing with solids slows down the process of muscle rebuilding. Leaving our bodies with excessive hunger-especially at a delicate time like this-can result in the body resorting to the same muscles to find the nutrients it needs to rebuild the very muscles that, in a sense, it is “eating.” Better to avoid it, don’t you think?
4. Don’t forget protein
Among the most important nutrients to replenish at this stage, the most important are proteins, and for a very simple reason: they are composed of amino acids, the main culprits in cellular reconstruction. In short, it can be said that, having to rebuild something, proteins are a bit like the bricks to build a house. And if the house has some shabby walls, the most urgent work to be done is to reinstate them with bricks. That is, with protein.
If you want to know how many to take, here is a handy guide that parameterizes them to the type and intensity of training sustained. Not neglecting that there is also a proportion related to body weight.
5. Use a foam roller
Imagine that foam rollers-that is, those tubes made of soft, elastic material-are like hands that gently but firmly massage you into your most painful areas.
In fact, the effect they cause is to relax the muscle, decontract it, and most importantly-through massage-increase the blood supply to the affected regions, so as to bring more oxygen to them and rebuild the fibers faster.
How to use it? On the most painful area and firmly. But always without ever overdoing: in short, you have to feel it but it must not hurt.
6. Heat Or cold.
A warm hug can help you, especially at such times. And we’re not talking about affectionate hugs but the use of heat to increase blood flow, which, as they said, carries oxygen and with it, protein and vitamins B and C.
Use heat right before your workout to maximize the effect by applying warm cloths or soaking in a tub filled with hot water.
Another frequently used method-although it requires special equipment, even if it can also be applied at home-is the cold method. In fact, by causing vasoconstriction, cold causes muscle tissue to act as a blood-sucking pump, resulting in accelerated recovery here as well. The only drawbacks: to do it “right” and in cold temperatures, you have to have a lot of ice or even cold rooms or tanks in which to stay for a while, and-needless to specify-this is not a very pleasant treatment. Although you can get used to it, like everything (not true: no one ever gets used to a very cold bath).
And one thing to avoid
As we have realized, pain is necessary, or rather, it is a side effect of the microinjuries caused by training to muscle fibers.
Trying to block or control it by using anti-inflammatories, as is also often done out of laziness or to eliminate pain or discomfort by acting on their symtoms but not their causes, is not letting nature take its course. Which, as mentioned, requires time and patience. To get back to trigger-ready muscles for the next workout.