Everyone knows sore, tired muscles are often unavoidable after a tough workout (we’re looking at you, Virtual Fitness Challenge Maniacs!). It’s a sign that you worked hard and are getting stronger. Though you may want to keep pushing yourself, it’s important to recognize the need for rest and recovery — and where to draw the line in order to avoid injury.
What causes muscle fatigue and soreness?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) often occurs between 12 and 72 hours after exercise in response to microscopic damage done to muscle fibers. However, the damage itself is not what’s giving you those aches and pains. It’s likely that DOMS is actually a side effect of your muscles going through the repair process. And while some muscle soreness points to progress, severe soreness lasting more than a few days indicates a more serious problem like injury.
How does rest help you recover after a workout?
Rest is an important piece of an exercise program — and it can do wonders for your overall health! It allows the body time to rebuild, restore and strengthen itself between workouts, repairing those microscopic damages in the muscles and replenishing energy stores.
What can I do post-workout to recover?
1. Cool Down and Stretch
The American Heart Association says your heart is beating fast, your body temperature is high and your blood vessels are dilated during physical activity, which can cause you to feel ill or even pass out if you suddenly stop. Cooling down allows your body to gradually return to normal. About 5 minutes of walking followed by stretching is recommended post-workout, which can help you avoid nausea, muscle cramps and stiffness.
2. Exercise Light on Rest Days
Having a successful rest day doesn’t mean sitting on the couch all day. Performing light forms of exercise can be very beneficial for recovery. However, you should always measure your progress and needs based on your energy and fitness levels rather than on how you look externally. For instance, a good rest day activity for some may involve low-intensity yoga, and for others could be a mid-length jog.
3. Don’t Rush New Routines
The American College of Sports Medicine highlights the importance of progressing slowly through new fitness routines or programs so your muscles have adequate time to adapt to the new stressors they’re being put through. Pushing your body too hard during unfamiliar exercises can lead to more severe DOMS symptoms or injury.
4. Don’t Ignore Overall Health
Pay attention to the other aspects of your physical health, not just your fitness. Your physical health not only includes your exercise and recovery routines, but also your food quality and diet, hydration levels, sleep patterns, getting fresh air and sunshine, regular visits to your trusted medical practitioners, personal hygiene and even the cleanliness of your home and work environments.
5. Try Products that Reduce Pain and Inflammation
CBD products, for example, can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. This can support proper recovery post-workout. Our partner, Sacred CBD, is a woman-founded and owned business that makes thoughtfully tested and perfected CBD balms, lotions, gel caps and tinctures that can help relieve sore and tired muscles. Founder Silvia Oriziba says: “We believe every body is sacred. That’s why these purely natural health products were formulated to enhance wellness, especially for those with active lifestyles. For instance, our signature CBD Infused Pain Balm is perfect for post-workout recovery.” Check out the video below to learn how to incorporate CBD products into your workout routine.
Bottom line, no one is immune to sore muscles and fatigue. However, if you make rest and recovery as high a priority as your workouts, you’ll be in good shape.