Sore From Working Out? Try These 6 Remedies

woman's legs in running tights, hands clutching hamstring
If you get sore from working out, you're not alone.

by Steven Auger

You've started going to the gym and, so far, you're really enjoying it. You like how it relieves stress after a long day. You like working up a good sweat as you increase your treadmill mileage. You like the positive changes in your body looking back at you in the mirror. Mostly, you like how it makes you feel when you're done. But what you don't like so much? Sore muscles. If you get sore from working out, you're not alone.

So, why do muscles get sore from working out and what can you do to help? The common theory as to why muscles get sore is due to microscopic tears in the muscle fibers used during a particular exercise, explains the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Muscles can also experience a phenomenon called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It typically develops within 12-24 hours after exercising and reaches its peak within 24-72 hours, notes the ACSM. Strength training, running, jumping and step aerobics are some of the activities that result in DOMS.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to alleviate soreness. Here are six remedies to try.

1. Foam Rolling

Using a foam roller on whatever muscles are suffering from DOMS can be helpful if you're looking for relief, according to Bodybuilding.com. For the best results, remember to breathe, spend additional time on tight areas and roll slowly on tender spots. Foam rolling can occasionally be somewhat uncomfortable, but it helps.

2. Massage

Regular massage is something you might want to consider if you lift weights on a regular basis. Deep tissue massages increase blood flow to muscles while helping to remove toxins, notesMen's Fitness.

If regular visits to a licensed massage therapist aren't in your budget, pick up a hand-held massager and do it yourself. At Planet Fitness clubs, Black Card members can enjoy unlimited use of massage chairs (as well as unlimited hydromassages, at participating locations). What better way to end a workout?

3. Eat

If you're exercising regularly, properly fueling your body is a necessity. This includes refueling after you've drained your energy stores. If you experience any swelling after a workout, tart cherry juice can help reduce the effects (thanks to the antioxidant anthocyanin). Foods that are high in protein can also reduce swelling. Ginger and watermelon juice can help alleviate muscle soreness, according to Fitness magazine.

4. Sleep

The body's muscle-building chemical production increases when you sleep, explains Men's Fitness. So, not only are you resting and recovering with some solid slumber, you're reaping the fruits of your labor in the muscle department. Bodybuilding.com also recommends eliminating any screen time an hour before bed and working on deeper, slower breathing to enhance your sleep.

5. Get Moving

Though your muscles need rest from taxing workouts, that doesn't mean you can't leave the couch. As noted by Fitness Magazine, being active 24 hours after a workout will help maintain proper circulation and fluid movement throughout the body. No need for anything too intense. Perhaps a brisk walk on the treadmill or 20 minutes on the elliptical.

6. Ice

You might be tempted to climb into the tub for a hot, relaxing bath. Instead, Men's Fitness recommends icing. Place some crushed ice in a waterproof bag and wrap it in a towel. Use the towel wrap to soothe any and all muscles that are screaming for some relief. The ice can prevent additional muscle damage while speeding up the healing process.

So yes, sore muscles can be a bit of a pain, but the discomfort is also a sign that your workouts are productive. The saying, "everything in moderation," applies here. If soreness is beginning to interfere with your daily life, you may be taking things too far. Keep in mind, soreness does tend to diminish as you become more consistent with your exercise regimen.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.