Sore Muscles No More!

My muscles feel sore! I hear these four words on a weekly basis from participants in my GRAVITY classes performed on the Total Gym. Chances are the majority of us have experienced muscle soreness at some point in time, but probably never stopped to think why our muscles feel this way.

Any time muscles work harder than they’re accustomed to, it is believed microscopic damage occurs to the muscle fibers which can result in soreness and feelings of stiffness. The lengthening of muscles during eccentric movements (think running downhill) has been known to contribute to microscopic tears and the surrounding tissue areas. This feeling is known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS for short.  DOMS will usually appear within 12 to 24 hours after exercise, and begin to peak after 24 to 72 hours. It is important to rest after a tough workout as rest allows muscles that have been overworked to heal and recover. Not taking the time to properly recover can lead to an increased chance of injury by overexerting the body before enough time has passed in between physical activities.

Prevention and Treatment for Quick Recovery

    Get Good Sleep:

  • Proper sleep is essential for helping muscles repair and recover. The body undergoes protein synthesis during sleep, and getting a good night of rest can make for stronger muscles and increased endurance.
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    Consume Protein for Breakfast:

  • After sleeping through the night, the body needs proper nutrients in the morning.  Eating protein-rich foods for breakfast assists in the rebuilding of muscles and can help reduce unhealthy cravings throughout the day. Think eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, and almonds.
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    Use a Foam Roller:

  • Using a foam roller can help break up scar tissue between the skin, muscles, and bone. The pressure that is placed on targeted fascia from a foam roller helps release trigger points where you may be feeling pain.
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    Book a Massage:

  • Similar to using a foam roller, massage can help disperse scar tissue and reduced stiffness/soreness in muscles. It not only helps with muscle recovery but it is also a good way to alleviate stress and tension in the body.
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    Take a hot bath:

  • A hot bath is a soothing way to warm up stiff and aching muscles. The heat can help tight muscles relax while increasing blood flow and circulation to the needed area. This can also help eliminate lactic acid build-up in muscles.
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    Listen to Relaxing Tunes:

  • Listening to favorite slow tempo songs may lead to reduced blood pressure and pulse rate after a challenging exercise session. Both of these benefits can result in quicker recovery for your body and affected muscles.
  • Stretch It Out

    There are several great stretches you can perform on the Total Gym to help relieve muscle stiffness and aid in quicker recovery. Here are a few of my favorites I perform after a tough workout:

      Back and Hip Stretch:

      1. Straddle the glideboard facing the tower.
      2. Lower chest towards the board and place one hand on each rail.
      3. Slowly begin to move each hand up the rails towards the tower while looking down towards the floor.
      4. Next, place both hands on the left rail, sit back into the right hip, and hold for ten seconds.
      5. Switch both hands on the right rail and repeat on the other side.
      6. Go back to one hand on each rail, lowering the chest a little more towards the glideboard (deeper stretch) and hold again for ten seconds.
      7. **Remember, do not hold your breath during any stretches.**

      Point and Flex:

      1. Walk on your heels to the top of the squat stand and point them forward then back towards the tower.
      2. This move will stretch the tops of your ankles, feet, calves and Achilles heel.

      Roll-Up:

      1. Lie down on the glideboard with feet towards the bottom of the squat stand, with head and neck rested on the pad.
      2. Raise both arms overhead, palms facing inward, and begin to reach upward by lifting the shoulders and back while rolling forward reaching towards the toes.
      3. This move will stretch the back, shoulders, and hamstrings, all while lifting the arms up towards the sky and rolling nice and slowly towards to ankles and toes.

      Tennis Ball Massage for Myofascial Release:

      1. Take a tennis ball and place under the right foot.
      2. While standing tall, drape the toes over the tennis ball and massage the backs of your toes.
      3. Begin to work down the sole of the foot to the back of the heel.
      4. Make sure to roll the ball on the inner and outer arches to cover the entire bottom of the foot.
      5. Continue to roll for a minimum of two minutes, then repeat on the left foot.
      6. You may experience tension release in other muscle groups in the body since the release of fascia in one area can trigger a release in another area

      It is no secret that getting proper rest, eating well, and taking the time to properly stretch after physical activities can lead to a decrease in injury and soreness. Making it a habit to properly warm-up and cool down takes commitment and discipline on a regular basis.  The benefits that come with following a consistent stretching and muscle recovery routine will pay off for many years to come. Now go treat yourself to a relaxing massage, hot bath, and a good night’s rest!

      Did you experience a timely recovery after a tough workout following these recommendations? Send us a photo or email, we would love to hear from you!

      Keep moving,

      Cara

      Cara Beltran
      Cara Beltran, CPT, is a NCCPT certified trainer, GRAVITYTrainer, and tennis teaching professional. She completed her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley where she competed on the women’s tennis team throughout college. Her fitness experience has also included working as the Education and Training Coordinator for Total Gym Global Corporation. Cara currently works as a GRAVITYTrainer for the YMCA of San Diego, where she enjoys teaching classes and encouraging her students to reach their strength and fitness goals. She enjoys inspiring those around her to stay active and be the best that they can be.

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