These Are the Best Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles After a Workout

Getting in a solid workout is a great feeling. But whether you run a few miles, crush it on the leg machines, or squeeze in a killer HIIT workout, your muscles will probably be pretty sore after. Here are some of the best ways to relieve the pain.

muscular young man drinking water

There are several ways to reduce muscle soreness. | Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock.com

Drink coffee before the workout

Your morning cup of joe might do more than just wake you up. It could have positive effects on your muscles, too. Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee and soda can reduce muscle pain caused by exercise. Researchers suggest that caffeine can affect a certain part of the brain and spinal cord that are involved in processing pain. If the caffeine suppresses the brain and spinal cord’s ability to process pain, then it would make sense that muscle soreness would be reduced. The study showed that regardless of whether people were consuming caffeine for the first time or had consumed it their whole lives, they still felt less pain after a workout.

Invest in a foam roller for before and after the workout

Myofascial release, commonly known as foam rolling, is a type of massage that reduces muscle soreness. According to Shape, putting pressure on your muscles by rolling over them helps to break up any adhesions or scar tissue and helps the muscles heal faster after a workout. It can also reduce tightness. Using a foam roller before a workout can help prep the muscles for what’s to come, while using it after can help prevent potential soreness. Roll slowly, though, to get the full effect.

Eat some fruit

Certain fruits contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the inflammation in muscles and reduce overall soreness. Pineapple and tart cherries both serve as anti-inflammatories, and watermelon is high in water, carbohydrates, and potassium, which can all help refuel your body and help it recover more quickly. Keep some fresh fruit in your refrigerator to snack on after a workout.

Stay hydrated

When you’re dehydrated, your muscle soreness is amplified. Drinking water before, during, and after a workout can reduce inflammation and help the muscles heal quickly. Plus, drinking water can also flush out inflammatory toxins from your body. The amount of water you need to drink varies from person to person, but experts suggest consuming about half of your body weight in ounces. However, it depends on the type of exercise you do as well and how often you work out.

Take an ice bath

One study found ice baths reduce muscle soreness by as much as 20%. But it was only proven to reduce muscle soreness about as much as compression stockings might. However, some professional athletes swear by an ice bath, and doctors don’t necessarily suggest avoiding them. WebMD reports that ice baths can be practical and may work better for you than one of the other pain-reducing methods. But ultimately, it’s up to you to find the method that works. If you shudder at the thought of an ice bath, it’s okay to skip it.

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