How to Prevent Muscle Soreness Following Your Workout

How to Prevent Muscle Soreness Following Your Workout

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Home Page > Sports and Fitness > Fitness > How to Prevent Muscle Soreness Following Your Workout

How to Prevent Muscle Soreness Following Your Workout

Posted: Feb 27, 2012 |Comments: 0


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You’ve been enjoying your new workout and you’re starting to see some great results and you feel great. That is, except for your sore muscles. This leaves you with two important questions: Why are they sore? And more importantly: how can you prevent it from happening again?

Lactic Acid Build Up

If your pain comes immediately after racking the weights, it’s likely caused by the accumulation of bi-products inside the muscle. Frequently called “lactic acid build up”, it’s not as serious as it sounds. In fact, you’ll find it will go away once you stop exercising and your body has had a chance to flush out the waste.

Your best defense? Water. The more water your body has at its disposal, the more efficiently it can remove the waste from your muscle tissue, and the less likely you are to build up lactic acid in your muscles while going through an intense workout for women. Or, at least it won’t last as long.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Does the stiffness and soreness from your workout last for a day or more? If so, you may have Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). You see, when you build muscle, you actually create micro-sized tears in the tissue. The pain you feel is actually the healing process.

As your body’s immune system mends the tears, it triggers your body’s inflammatory response. This causes swelling and builds fluid around the muscles, which puts pressure on the tissue and activates your pain receptors. Your brain registers the pain, and your workout doesn’t feel as great as it did before.

Is The Pain a Bad Thing?

Exactly how muscles grow isn’t known for sure, but experts have a number of theories. Some believe training decreases blood flow and oxygen levels in the muscle, triggering protein synthesis. But this doesn’t make sense since muscle grows, even when you use a tourniquet to restrict blood flow.

The most likely explanation for muscle growth is muscle regeneration. Workouts break down muscle tissue, which forces the body to rebuild and make repairs. It also builds more tissue to make it stronger and prevent future injuries. In other words, the old saying “no pain, no gain” is absolutely true.

Muscle growth occurs in one of two ways:

Hypertrophy — Increases the size of muscle fiber cells. Classified as either sarcomere hypertrophy or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

Hyperplasia — An increase in the number of muscle fiber cells through cell division. Muscle fibers split, resulting in more fibres in the same amount of space. Normally, the body takes 15 to 30 days to break down and rebuild its muscles, but when you work out, the body has an increased need for fuel, so it will

intensify the rebuilding process for as much as 72 hours after training, peaking at the 24 to 36 hour mark.

Preventing Soreness in a Workout for Women

If inflammation triggers your body’s pain receptors, then your best line of defense is to fight the swelling and inflammation. To do that, fill your diet with foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties.

Spinach — Rich in phytonutrients known for their anti-inflammatory and anticancer benefits, spinach is a powerful antioxidant. It contains large amounts of vitamin C, A, and iron. It also contains vitamin K, which prevents bone breakdown. Broccoli has similar effects.

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Avocado — This fantastic has more protein in it than a steak. It can help regulate your blood sugar levels, improve your cardiovascular health, absorb more carotenoid antioxidants, and has high anti-inflammatory benefits.

Fish Oil — Fish oils increase your insulin sensitivity, muscle growth, and energy levels, while lowering your cholesterol, blood pressure, minimizing muscle breakdown, and easing inflammation. In fact, it’s one of the best supplements you can take for better health and athletic performance. Wild-Caught Salmon is a great source too.

Papaya — This food contains numerous anti-inflammatory nutrients, but together with its rich source of the digestive enzyme papain, vitamins C, and E, it can also help improve digestion and heal burns.

Turmeric — Generally found in curry powders, turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties similar to those found in prescription drugs. And best of all, there are no side effects.

Sweet Potato — One of the plainest but most powerful foods you’ll find at your local market, this root vegetable contains carbs, manganese, beta-carotene, fibre, B6 and vitamin C that boost your body’s healing ability and greatly reduce inflammation.

Shiitake Mushroom — Anti-inflammatories, immune-boosting agents, and a unique taste, these oriental fungi have been known to fight cancer and improve your overall health.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil — A healthy monounsaturated fat, the anti-inflammatory agents found in this Mediterranean oil has polyphenols that keep inflammation in the cardiovascular system down, and can even reduce asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Blueberries — Famous for their antioxidants, blueberries contain phytonutrients that act as anti-inflammatories to help fight cancer and dementia. Mix them with blackberries, goji berries, and blackberries, and you’ll have a complete medley of pain fighters to enjoy after your workout for women.

Kelp — Like spinach, kelp contains special complex carbohydrates. Some such as fucoidan and kombu are believed to fight tumors, inflammation, and have powerful antioxidant properties. Some studies have also found fucoidan can trigger collagen synthesis and help fight liver and lung cancer. The high fibre content increases weight loss by reducing fat absorption and making you feel fuller longer.

Try a Dynamic Warm Up

Stretching can greatly reduce the amount of damage your muscles sustain during a workout. For women, it isn’t a matter of just stretching, either. You need to stretch the right way. Static stretches, for example, can be extremely harmful because the body hasn’t warmed up.

You need to perform dynamic stretching. It uses constant movement, which raises and maintains a warmer core body temperature. But because it also includes the same movements you’ll repeat in your workout, it improves your range of movement and lowers your risk of injury. Lastly, it improves your body’s blood and oxygen flow, as well as your overall performance.

Dynamic stretching doesn’t jerk or force your muscles and joins. Instead, these types of stretches gradually increase your range of motion by moving in the same way you’ll be moving during your workout.

Gradually Increase Intensity

A healthy workout for women should gradually increase in intensity. So, you should start with dynamic stretching, then do a warm up set, a lighter set, and then finish with your heaviest set.

Your entire fitness program should also increase in intensity. Therefore, every week, increase the intensity by 10% to challenge your body and prevent muscle damage. To do this, you can add an additional exercise to your circuit, increase the weight, or complete the circuit in less time.

Proper Recovery After a Workout for Women

Once your workout is over, it’s time to focus on recovery, and a big part of that is food. When you work out, you break down muscle tissue, and use a ton of energy. This means your muscles need to heal through a process called protein synthesis and replenish its glycogen levels. To do all this, you’re going to need a quick digesting carb and protein-rich meal. And by adding these to your body at the right time, you’ll be able to recover more efficiently.

Not sure what to try? Go for isolates, dextrose, or a recovery drink. Make your own by mixing protein powder and dextrose, or combine fish and white rice. Just be aware that whole foods take longer to digest, so you may want to stick to liquids. Don’t want to avoid whole foods completely though. Take advantage of your after-workout window by eating whole foods. Again, choose easy-to-digest carbs and proteins and watch your calories.

Apply Ice

Once the damage is done, you can lessen the swelling and pain by applying ice to the muscle groups you’ve focused on. Ice baths are perfect for this. In fact, every major league athletic team uses this method to help athletes recover and get ready for the next day’s training.

Static Stretching Following Your Workout

A simplified form of flexibility exercise, static stretching elongates the muscles to prevent injury and maximize the range of motion. Unlike dynamic stretching, however, static stretching should be done after a workout for women.

Take Time Off

Giving your body time to rest is just as important as working it out. You see it’s normal to feel stiff or physically tired after you work out, but overtraining is another matter. A serious one.

Overtraining doesn’t happen after just one hard workout. Rather, it is caused by repeatedly training until you’re fatigued, and not to including lower intensity days or time to recover. In other words, this happens over a period of weeks or months.

When training, make sure to take at least one day off each week to recover. And if you’re lifting heavy weights, make sure to give yourself 5-7 days before working that area of the body again.

Preventing and treating muscle soreness should always be a vital component in your fitness routine. Not only does it make sure you’re always feeling and operating at your best, but it also ensures you’ll stick with your workout routine. After all, if you’re always in pain, you won’t be enjoying it. And if you’re

not enjoying it, you’re not going to be able to stick with any type workout for women, no matter how easy it is or what results you get.

About the Author:
Flavia Del Monte is a Registered Nurse, Certified Physical Trainer, Certified Nutritionist and the creator of Full-Body-Licious. You can read more about her training programs, nutrition advice and general fitness on her female fitness blog.
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