Whether you are a pro athlete or maintaining good health with regular workouts, it’s common to feel post-exercise muscle soreness. A change in intensity or activity activates the muscles in different ways and might engage new muscles.
As a result, small tears in the muscle fibers occur. This response is healthy because it helps the muscle grow and get stronger. But you’ll feel the effects of it for a few days.
How Long Does Muscle Soreness Last?
You might notice muscle soreness immediately after your exercise session – known as acute soreness. Within 12 hours after you finish exercising, it’s common for the muscles to tighten up or start aching. Most people find that the soreness peaks between 48 – 72 hours later. This pain is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness.
The length of recovery depends on your overall fitness and the intensity of your exercise session. Sometimes, the discomfort improves quickly. Other times, it takes a few days until you are back to normal.
Tips to Speed Up Your Recovery
You can do a few things to speed up your recovery time and get back to your regular exercise routine again. Try these tips to find the muscle soreness recovery that works best for you:
Stretch the Muscles
Gentle stretching is beneficial to loosen up the muscles and improve your flexibility. Stretch at the end of your workout and again when you feel you need to loosen things up. It can be helpful to stretch first thing in the morning and again before bed. Also, proactively stretch before future workouts to minimize muscle soreness later on.
Ice and Heat
Applying cold and warm compresses to the muscles can help with recovery. Ice reduces inflammation and swelling. Heat increases blood flow. Try placing an ice pack on the affected muscles for 15 minutes. Also, take a hot bath with Epsom salt to loosen things up.
If the pain is interfering with your daily activities, you might take over-the-counter medications. Follow the dosage instructions for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as Advil or generic ibuprofen.
Rest and Recovery
Allow yourself time to recover so you don’t hurt your muscles, even if you’re excited to continue your workout. To allow the muscles to regenerate between training sessions, rest is just as crucial as the activity. Pay attention to your body and create a fitness routine that helps you feel good.
Try a Foam Roller
Work out the soreness by massaging the muscles with a foam roller. This form of self-massage is beneficial for improving flexibility and reducing muscle fatigue. Place the foam roller on the floor, position your sore muscles over the roller, then gently move back and forth to work out the tender spot.