You have been working out hard, consistently getting on your bike, hitting the pavement, going for a swim or whatever your chosen activity may be. Consequently, you feel accomplished and healthy?but your muscles are sore.
Sore muscles are believed to be caused by inflammation of the muscle fibers due to prolonged or intense usage. The soreness is a message from the body to take action with your health by nurturing yourself.
Give yourself a break! When we rest, our cells, skin, muscles, joints and brain all regenerate. Resting the body, or participating in less strenuous activity until soreness subsides, will refresh you.
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Taking a couple of days off completely from your regular activity may be the best solution for you. If the soreness is especially intense, take a full week off. The more intense your physical routine, chances are the longer it will take for the soreness to subside.
The body is powerful; it will efficiently heal itself when given the opportunity to address the challenged areas. Rest can renew and re-energize you.
Ice Then Heat
Icing is most effective immediately following the onset of soreness. It cools inflammation and swelling, and relieves aches and pain.
It is best to ice within the first 48 hours of feeling discomfort. Give yourself an "ice massage" by moving the ice around for 15 to 20 minutes along the sore muscles.
Allow 45 to 60 minutes to pass before icing again. Over-icing can further damage tissues and even cause frostbite. Wait until the skin feels warm again then repeat as frequently as you wish. Freeze a few ice packs so that they are ready to go when you need them.
Begin using heat after the swelling and inflammation have decreased, which could take two or three days. Heat helps in aiding circulation, relaxes tight muscles, and reduces pain. Heat is usually better for chronic pain, such as arthritis, or for muscle relaxation. Apply heat to sore areas for 20 minutes, up to three times a day. You can use a hot compress or take a warm bath or hot shower.