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How to prevent pain after exercise

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Find out why you are in pain after you exercise and what you can do about it.

Muscle soreness after exercise is most likely to occur after you do something different, such as at the beginning of an exercise program, after a long layoff, when you perform a new type of exercise, or when you increase the duration or intensity of exercise.

This type of soreness can often take a day or two to set in, and it will vary in intensity from person to person. Here’s my list of ten things you can do to ease the discomfort and speed recovery when experiencing pain after exercise:

  1. 1. Prioritise sleep – Sleep is when your body restores and repairs itself
  2. 2. Nourish your body – Give the body all the nutrients it needs to repair damaged muscle cells, including protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 
  3. 3. Cool it – If your muscle soreness is intense, icing for 10 -20 minutes at a time may offer temporary relief, especially in the early stages of pain.
  4. 4. Stretch A light program of stretching will boost circulation to your sore muscles and aid in recovery
  5. 5. Hydrate – Make sure to drink plenty of water to help your body function at its best.
  6. 6. Massage – Massage can boost circulation, ease pain and help you relax. Make sure to inform the masseuse that your muscles are already sore.
  7. 7. Try a light workout – An active recovery can increase blood flow and may help relieve muscle soreness. Try performing easy, low-impact activities such as walking, cycling, swimming or Tai Chi, and keep your intensity down until your sore muscles have fully recovered. Avoid activities that cause pain
  8. 8. Feeling hot, hot, hot – Weather it’s through a wheat bag, sauna, bath, spa or hydrotherapy pool, heat relaxes your muscles and may speed up recovery by bringing more blood to the sorest spots. Wait a few days after your workout before applying heat 
  9. 9. Try a hold / cold shower – One way to boost circulation to your aching muscles is to shower them with an alternating flow of hold and cold water using 20 – 30 second intervals
  10. 10. Seek help – If the pain comes on quickly (during or immediately after exercise), if it feels intense, if there is excessive swelling or bruising, or if the pain fails to dissipate after a few days, you may have injured yourself. See your doctor for assistance