You finally stand up after sitting all day at your desk, and your hips, lower back, and shoulders are screamingly tense and sore. Shake off the tightness and stress of the day by stepping onto a yoga mat, and do this relaxing yoga sequence to target all those oh-so-tight areas.
Everyone has suffered from sore or painful feet. Whether you've been on your feet all day working, or you're feeling it after a long run, try these suggestions.
- Check your shoes: Are they old, unsupportive, too tight, or too loose? Your footwear has a lot to do with how your feet feel, so make sure you're wearing appropriate shoes for the activity you're doing, whether you're out for a run or running an afternoon of errands.
- Do these stretches: Since tight calves are one cause of foot pain, try these stretches to target the back of your lower leg. For this one called the wall calf stretch, press the ball of your foot against a wall so your foot is at a 45-degree angle. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then do the other foot. Repeat on both sides for a total of three times. If you're a fan of wearing high heels, here are a few more exercises to prevent injury and pain.
- Good ol' ice: If your feet are swollen or in pain, ice and elevate your tootsies to reduce inflammation. Place a bag of ice or cold pack in an oversize, stretchy sock and then slip the sock on. Ice for no more than 20 minutes.
- The power of heat: If your feet are just sore, either hop your entire self into a hot bath or fill a big pot with hot water, sit in your favorite chair, relax with a good book, and let the heat ease your pain.
- Rub out the tension: Give yourself a massage (or find a kind friend who will do it for you). Rub your feet, shins, and calves with moisturizing lotion. This will bring nourishing blood to the achy area, which helps ease pain.
A little soreness lets you know you got in a good workout, but you don't want to be so achy that it hurts to laugh or raise your arm to brush your hair. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can cause discomfort for a day or two, and aside from stretching and taking an
excruciating exhilarating ice bath, certain nutrients and foods can actually help prevent or ease your soreness. Here's a smoothie recipe you can whip up that's chock-full of them.
This recovery drink contains antioxidant-rich strawberries and kale, both of which are full of pain-easing vitamin C, as well as wheat germ, an excellent source of vitamin E, which can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, so throw in some sardines — just kidding — walnuts are also high in these healthy fats. Add fresh ginger, a natural painkiller, and my fave, cherries, which contain anthocyanins, potent antioxidants (also found in strawberries) that help reduce inflammation and muscle damage. Top it off with green tea, a double whammy that contains caffeine and catechins that have anti-inflammatory effects.
Keep reading to learn how to make this 260-calorie smoothie.
Whether you ran a little farther than normal or took that two-hour Zumba class your friend talked you into, you're definitely still feeling it in the morning. A little soreness lets you know you had a good workout, but it's not such a great feeling when you're so sore it hurts to walk down the stairs. Here are three ways to alleviate the uncomfortable achiness the morning after an intense workout.
- Shower power: The power of heat is a sore muscle's best friend. Either hop in a hot shower, soak in a steamy bath, or hit your gym's sauna. If a particular area is sore, like your lower back, plug in a heating pad or use a microwaveable warming pillow and get some relief by placing it on the affected area.
- Move and stretch: Post-workout muscle stiffness can be relieved, surprisingly, by more exercise. Do some light cardio like walking to improve circulation, and get even more relief by following up with a short stretching session — lengthening overworked muscles does wonders for your achy body. Do any of the stretching sequences below depending on which part of your body is hurting:
Lower-back and hip stretches
Chest and shoulder stretches
- Get a massage: If you know you're going to be doing a pretty rigorous workout, set up a massage for the morning after. Getting a good rubdown is sure to offer instant relief from pain and stiffness, and it can help shorten the amount of time you feel sore. If you can't afford a massage, make time with your gym's foam roller.
Both massagers were great at relieving tension from hard-to-reach muscle groups in order to give our bodies some extra love and attention. But they offer more help than just soothing sore muscles; the massagers claim to assist in breaking up troublesome scar tissue and to increase circulation.
Want to hear why we loved them? Keep reading to find out.
Three nights of bouldering sessions at the gym, and I feel like a zombie who's been hit by a truck. Sore muscles are never comfortable, but I wear them with a badge of honor knowing I pushed my body a little harder than usual. On those days after I've gone a little overboard, relief is definitely in order — here are my go-to ways of easing sore muscles.
After a few days spent running on the treadmill and another few lifting weights, it may be time to give your body a rest. This is especially true if your muscles are feeling tight, sore, and overworked. Instead of succumbing to laziness, use this time to take care of your body by doing things that will help it recover, which will make your future workouts even better!
We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Shape here on FitSugar.
If your New Year's resolution to get in shape stalled out fast, you might be panicking right about now since bikini season is right around the bend. Making up for lost time with an aggressive workout routine will likely leave you sore, but begging for more once you see your thighs trim down and take form.
That burn you feel 24 to 48 hours after an intense workout is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it's enough to make you want to put down the Kettlebell and pick up a cocktail. But press on! We talked to fitness and nutrition expert Harley Pasternak, M.Sc., author of The 5-Factor World Diet, and trainer to celebrities like Lady Gaga, Megan Fox, and Halle Berry, about why (some) pain is good.
"The idea behind resistance training is that you're basically tearing something and creating a micro trauma in the muscle," Pasternak says. "When the muscle recovers, it's going to recover stronger and denser than it was before." So that soreness you feel the day after an upper-body workout—when you're hauling groceries into your car and you can hardly lift your arms—is good.
See Harley's tips for reducing DOMS after the break!
Wouldn't it be nice to end every active week with an intense deep-tissue massage to help ease your muscles? But since we can't always spring for a trip to the spa, here's what we can do — use the foam roll at the gym.
You may have seen people in the gym foam rolling and think it's just for serious athletes or gym rats, but that's not the case. But there are many reasons why massaging out the tight knots in muscles is an important part of your workout routine, even if you already stretch regularly. Why? Because no matter how much you stretch, the build up of fascia that creates muscle knots that won't go away, which can lead to many different problems.
I've been consistently seeing my trainer for a few weeks, and the aftermath is clear: not only am I working new sets of muscles (meaning new ways of being sore) but I'm also realizing how much more I need to be foam rolling. My trainer, Tim Rich at Crunch Gym, says that everyone, avid athlete or not, should be using those long spongy cylinders daily. Read on for why and how you should be foam rolling every day.
- Helps prevent common injuries. One of the most important reasons for a regular foam-rolling routine is to prevent those often too common exercise-related injuries. Many runners, for example, become painfully well acquainted with their IT band if they don't take care to massage the band of tissue. IT band syndrome and other similar flare-ups can be caused by too-tight muscles. Foam rolling every day ensures you are massaging away fascia buildup in your muscles, in order to help prevent those areas from becoming injury trigger points.
- Helps you de-stress. Had a hard day? Foam roll your worries away. Digging for those knots "releases tension that is built up in the connective tissue to keep you less stressed," says Tim. He recommends a simple all-over body routine in order to combat the "desk posture blues" that happen from sitting too long in the office.
- Keeps you flexible. Building up your flexibility is key for any fitness routine, Tim says, which means you constantly should be stretching and doing exercises that'll help you gain flexibility. Stretches that lengthen your hip flexors, for example, can help combat tightness from sitting as well as lower back pain.
The more regularly you use a foam roll on your tight muscles, the less painful it'll be. Ready to roll? Here are five important stretches you should be doing with a foam roll, and a video on how to foam roll your quads and IT band for elongated, flexible, and injury-free thighs and happy knees.
Motion sickness, tummy problems, and a sore throat: is there anything ginger can't help? Not likely. A new study says that the spicy root also soothes away sore muscles that often come after working out.
In two separate studies, researchers divided 74 healthy adults into two groups — one group of participants were given a daily ginger supplement, while the other group was given a placebo. Over the course of 11 days, all participants performed a variety of exercises that led to the kind of achy, sore muscles that a good workout is prone to do. At the end on the study, the group that was taking the ginger supplements had a reduction in pain of almost 25 percent when compared to the placebo group. Researchers believe that ginger may have anti-inflammatory properties — nature's own ibuprofen! Be sure to read up on other ways to beat post-workout pain.