9 Muscle Recovery Tips To Reduce Soreness
I get SO many requests for recovery tips from the Sweat Community! When you first start working out, it’s normal to feel sore after your workouts.
In fact, some muscle soreness is a sign that you’re working hard and getting stronger.
- My top muscle recovery tips
- Warm up and cool down
- Stay hydrated
- Get plenty of sleep
- Post-workout snacks
- Run a bath
- Active recovery
- Stretch every day
- What you eat
- Why is it important to recover after a workout
If you’ve experienced delayed-onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) after a workout, then these tips are for you!
My top muscle recovery tips
Use these tips to relieve sore muscles and help to prepare your body for your next workout!
1. Warm up and cool down
I cannot stress how important it is to make time to warm up before a workout and cool down once you are done!
An effective warm up routine helps gets the blood flowing to your muscles and joints, which also helps to reduce the chance of an injury. Stretching prior to your workout can help improve flexibility, as well as slowly increase your heart rate and blood flow.
Likewise, stretching and foam rolling at the end of your workout can help to reduce muscle soreness, making it easier to get into your next training session. Check out my blog about when to do static vs dynamic stretching.
2. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water helps your body to stay hydrated. If you become dehydrated, you may not recover from a workout as quickly and you are more likely to get cramps or muscle spasms.
Water fuels your body by helping every part of it to function, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes!
When you exercise, you can lose a lot of fluids through sweat, particularly during high-intensity workouts. Dehydration can affect your body during and long after your workout. Topping up your fluid levels can help keep a number of your body’s systems in check, reduce muscle cramps and gives you an energy boost.
To stay hydrated, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day — this includes before, during and after exercise. I personally think that plain water is one of the best options, as pre-mixed sports drinks can contain lots of sugar. If you enjoy the taste, coconut water also contains natural electrolytes.
3. Get plenty of sleep
Lack of sleep has plenty of flow-on effects, even if you aren't significantly sleep deprived. Sleep plays a vital role in recovery from exercise. During sleep, your body produces hormones that help with tissue repair. Aim for seven to nine hours each night — try to get to bed at the same time each night to get enough sleep for recovery.
4. Have a post-workout snack
Having a post-workout meal or snack can help ensure that you are getting the right macronutrients to aid with muscle recovery.
An ideal post-workout snack will contain protein and carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen in your muscles.
5. Take magnesium
Magnesium is an important mineral found in a variety of foods which can help speed recovery and aid in protein synthesis. Low levels of magnesium in the body can cause muscle tension, cramping and spasms. In addition, magnesium is great for sleep — which means it helps you recover in more ways than one.
Some people swear by taking a magnesium supplement or eating foods that are rich in magnesium, claiming it helps to reduce muscle cramping and soreness.
6. Run a bath
Taking a bath can help you to relax. A warm bath will increase blood flow throughout your body to aid recovery. A bath is most beneficial on a rest day, rather than straight after a hard training session!
If you are really brave, an ice bath or a cold bath can help to reduce inflammation in the muscles after training.
7. Make time for active recovery
If you’re feeling sore, moving is probably the last thing you feel like doing — but trust me, it can make you FEEL BETTER!
Taking a walk, going for a gentle bike ride or a swim can help to improve circulation.
Improved blood flow can promote recovery by allowing more nutrients to get to the muscles and efficient removal of waste products that contribute to muscle soreness.
8. Stretch every day
Regular stretching is so important, and I make time for it every morning and evening.
Stretching can help you to wind down at the end of the day and assist with better sleep.
Foam rolling can also help to relieve tight muscles. My programs have one foam rolling and stretching session each week that I highly recommend you complete! Foam rollers can help to reduce muscle tension and ”knots”, improving your general muscle function. Foam rolling regularly can also help reduce muscle imbalance, which may restrict your movement in future workouts.
Because the roller uses your own weight to stimulate the muscles, you have control of the pressure. I recommend adding foam rolling to your rehabilitation sessions, before you start your post-workout stretches.
By loosening tight muscles you prepare your body for your next workout — and don’t worry, you aren’t losing your progress by releasing muscle tightness!
9. Think about what you eat
Without the right nourishment, your body simply may not have the right resources to recover from an intense workout. In order for your muscles to repair and become stronger after a workout, your body needs the right macronutrients.
A balanced eating plan should have carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to support your training and recovery.
You can find plenty of healthy eating inspiration on my blog.
Why is it important to recover after a workout?
When you work out you put your body under stress. If you allow your body time to recover, it will adapt to the stress and get stronger, so that next time you workout, it’s slightly easier.
During recovery, muscle tissue is repaired. This process can take 24-48 hours, which is why we work out different parts of the body on different days!
Having a recovery plan in place will help you to stick to your workout program.
Muscle recovery is just as important as doing your workouts
Try these muscle recovery tips to help you to bounce back faster from your workouts!
Starting a new fitness regime is hard! That’s why it’s so important to take your recovery seriously.
When you listen to your body, you’ll find that you stay motivated on your fitness journey.
What’s your top muscle recovery tip? Share it in the comments below!
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.