A little bit of soreness is a sign that you’ve challenged your muscles, it can also be uncomfortable and affect your day-to-day activities. Before reaching for that NSAID, here are some natural remedies you can use to ease sore muscles and recover faster from your workout:
- Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt is a natural source of magnesium, a mineral that is essential for muscle function and recovery. Taking a warm bath with Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) can help ease soreness by penetrating the skin, increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation. It also promotes relaxation. Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 15-30 minutes.
It’s important to note that Epsom salt is generally safe for most people when used as directed. However, if you have any medical conditions or concerns, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider before using Epsom salt.
2. Theragun or other percussive massage:
Percussive massage devices like the Theragun can be used to massage sore muscles and increase blood flow, which can help to reduce muscle soreness. To use, simply apply the massage device to the sore area and move it around in circular motions or back and forth.. Best to stay on the muscles themselves.. and not bones or places between muscles-ouch.
3. Foam rolling
Foam Rolling is a form of self-massage that can help release tight spots in your muscles and improve flexibility. Use a foam roller to target your calves, quads, hamstrings, and back after your workout. (Avoid small bony areas like the neck)
To foam roll sore muscles, follow these steps:
- Choose the right foam roller: There are many different types of foam rollers available, so choose one that is appropriate for your level of soreness and fitness level. A firmer roller will provide deeper pressure, while a softer roller will be more gentle.
- Position yourself correctly: Place the foam roller on the ground and position your body so that the sore muscle is resting on the roller.
- Apply pressure: Use your body weight to apply pressure to the sore muscle by slowly rolling back and forth over the foam roller. Focus on the areas that are most sore, but be careful not to put too much pressure on any one area.
- Hold pressure: If you find a particularly sore or tight spot, hold pressure on that area for 10-30 seconds to help release tension.
While it may be tempting to stay sedentary after a tough workout, walking can actually help ease soreness and promote recovery. Take a shleppy (less than brisk) walk for 20-30 minutes to get your blood flowing and help flush out toxins.
5. Proteins and Carbs within a magic window of time post-workout
Protein and carbohydrates: Consuming a balanced diet that is rich in protein and carbohydrates can help to support muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness. Protein is important for muscle repair and growth, while carbohydrates are important for replenishing glycogen stores and providing energy for exercise. Consuming a protein-rich snack within 30 minutes after exercise may help to improve muscle recovery and reduce muscle soreness.
Some evidence suggests that you can get relief from muscle soreness by eating antioxidant-rich foods.
Watermelon, for instance, is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline. Studies done in 2013 and 2017 suggest that this amino acid can reduce recovery heart rate and muscle soreness.
Other anti-inflammatory foods that have shown promise in treating muscle soreness are:
Tart Cherry Juice
cherry juice and Tart cherry juice contains anti-inflammatory compounds (antioxidents) that can help reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery. Drink a glass of 2-4 oz tart cherry juice diluted in 8 oz of water or seltzer or juice after your workout or before bed to help ease soreness and improve sleep quality.
Aloe vera is known for its healing properties, and drinking aloe juice can help reduce inflammation and promote recovery. Blend 1-2 tablespoons of aloe juice (you can find this at the natural food store) with your favorite fruits and vegetables for a refreshing post-workout smoothie.
Arnica is an herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to ease pain and promote healing. Apply arnica cream or gel to sore muscles to help reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.
Bromelain is a natural enzyme found in pineapples that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Eat fresh pineapple or take a bromelain supplement to help ease soreness and speed up recovery.
Incorporating these natural remedies into your post-workout routine can help ease soreness and promote faster recovery. Remember to stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and get enough rest to support your body’s natural healing process.
When should you see a healthcare provider about sore muscles?
Delayed-onset muscle soreness doesn’t usually require medical attention. But you should see a healthcare provider if you have:
- Severe or debilitating pain
- Very swollen limbs
- Loss of range of motion due to severe swelling
- Dark urine or less frequent urination
- Persistent pain that lasts longer than a week