As we get older, we find ourselves working harder to stay fit and there’s nothing like the sense of satisfaction and the sensation of all those endorphins, after a tough workout. But as you gleefully rejoice in your hard work, you know something else is probably coming, too — muscle soreness. “Fitness-related muscle soreness is so common it has a name, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or D.O.M.S.,” says Samantha Clayton, ACE- and AFAA-certified personal trainer, Olympic sprinter, and women’s sprints coach at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. “DOMS sets in a day or two following a strenuous fitness routine and is caused by microscopic tears within the muscle tissue created during your intense exercise activity.” This bittersweet reminder of how hard you pushed yourself actually serves a biological purpose during the workout recovery period. “Your body responds with pain so you don’t over-train while it heals itself,” Clayton explains. Health professionals believe DOMS is caused by several factors; lactic acid build up, muscle spasms, connective tissue damage, muscle damage, inflammation and enzyme efflux. If you have drastically changed your workout routine or amped up the volume or intensity of your fitness regimen, DOMS can’t be avoided, but there are some simple treatments that can help lessen the blow and help you feel better, faster. Try these tips to bounce back with ease.
Hydrate: “Hydration is important before, throughout and after, your workout to prevent cramping and decrease inflammation (and muscle soreness) after exercise,” says Sarah Edwards, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. Despite what beverage companies want you to believe, water is the best choice for most exercisers. If your fitness routine leads to excessive sweating, either because you are exercising in hot weather or working out vigorously, you might want to also replace electrolytes and sodium by drinking a sports beverage in addition to water, adds Dr. Edwards. Just keep it low-calorie to avoid drinking back all the calories you just burned.
Jump in an ice bath: “Almost every college and pro sports team locker room has an ice bath and athletes are strongly encouraged to jump in after a tough workout for a 10- minute soak,” Clayton says. No matter what you age, Clayton encourages amateur athletes to do the same because cold baths have been found to significantly reduce muscle soreness — particularly when compared to resting or no intervention after a workout.
Reach for pineapple or tart cherries: “Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, has anti-inflammatory benefits comparable to those of anti-inflammatory medications,” Clayton says. Recent research has also unveiled the hidden anti-inflammatory powers of tart cherries or tart cherry juice, which has also been shown to significantly reduce inflammation in the body. You can also purchase supplements containing bromelain at a health food store or online.
Heat it up later in the day: A few hours after an intense fitness session, apply B.Witching Bath Co. Organic Muscle Rub. This award-winning formula will heat up and then radiate a cool sensation into the muscles. ”Muscle tightness causes increased pain for many people, and stimulating the blood flow and loosening up sore muscles and can help speed up the healing process,” Dr. Edwards says. “The organic ingredients are amazing and we have had great success with this formula”. B.Witching recommends applying the muscle rub before bedtime, or anytime relief is needed. It’s very helpful that the formula absorbs into skin, leaving a smooth after touch never a greasy or sticky feel. Armed with B.Witching Bath Co. Organic Muscle Rub, you can take your fitness routine up a notch without any worries. Do it!
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