You give all you've got to your workout, pushing yourself right up until the very end, and what does your workout do for you? It leaves you with bruises, sore muscles, and a couple of bad-looking blisters — thanks, workout! But don't let that bubble of skin interfere with your next sweat session! Keep reading for tips about how to cope with common workout wear and tear annoyances.
- Blisters: If you're naturally prone to getting blisters, take these precautionary measures to prevent any future blister outbreaks. And if the damage is already done, you can drain any large blisters with a sterilized needle, then cover with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. By the morning, most of the redness should be gone. If you're ready to hit the gym for round two, place a bandage over your blister that is much larger than the affected area, and one that provides ample gauze for added protection and drainage control. The band-aid will act as a barrier between the blister and your shoes, although I highly recommend wearing different shoes, or switching up your workout for a day or two until the blister is able to heal. Be sure to see a doctor if the blister area gets more painful or red and if there are signs of pus.
- Achy muscles: I have a love-hate relationship with sore muscles. When my muscles ache, I know I got a good workout, but being in pain is the pits! That burn you feel 24 to 48 hours after an intense workout is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Celeb trainer Harley Pasternak advises us all to make sure that the suffering is from DOMS and not an injury. "A good way to tell the difference is if the pain is bilateral," Pasternak says. Having one very sore shoulder after you've worked both shoulders could spell injury. Harley suggests the following tips for preventing DOMS. But what happens when the damage is already done? If it's just typical DOMS, you can still work out. Although if you're in really bad pain, and you can barely walk, it may be best to skip your run and give your muscles time to heal. If you're in pain from an intense kick-boxing class or 10-mile run, try some gentle walking, go swimming, or take a yoga class — just something that focuses on working other muscle groups instead. Working sore muscles can actually make them feel better because it brings blood to those areas, which helps promote healing.
- Bruises: A bruise develops when small blood vessels under the skin tear or rupture. Blood leaks into tissues under the skin and causes the black-and-blue color. Bruising easily does not mean you have a serious health problem, as a tendency to bruise easily sometimes runs in the family. If you've injured yourself during your workout, and you know it's going to bruise, stop working out immediately. As soon as you get home, apply ice wrapped in a clean cloth. Remove the ice after 20 minutes. Lightly wrap the injured area in a soft bandage or ace wrap and keep it elevated to a level above the heart. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be taken for pain, but it's best to avoid aspirin because aspirin slows the blood from clotting and may prolong the bleeding. How bad the bruise is will determine when you can resume your physical activity. Just remember to slowly ease your way back into your fitness regime.
Source: Flickr User Perfecto Insecto