How To Feel Less Sore After Working Out

by Isadora Baum, CHC

When your body is sore, it can mess with your ability to get in a great workout. Over time, such soreness and stress can also lead to impaired energy levels, decreased performance on workouts, and other compromises. Thus, getting rid of body soreness, according to experts at WebMD, can help you feel more relaxed and agile, allowing you to work your body more efficiently in both mundane, daily tasks and athletic endeavors.

As a certified health coach, I work with clients on easing their muscles to feel more relaxed and capable in their bodies. Between doing daily errands, such as taking the stairs, walking to work, cooking dinner (or picking up dinner!), and maybe even taking the dog out for a walk, as well as making time for a legit workout, our legs and muscles can certainly get fatigued. However, chronic soreness shouldn't necessarily be an issue unless we are pushing our bodies too far, such as through overtraining or vigorous exercise. Finding a happy balance for physical exertion is critical, as putting too much stress on the body can lead to regular soreness and discomfort over time. Here are 11 ways to get rid of body soreness now, so that you can feel more comfortable in your own skin.

1. Stretch

"Stretching can help relieve muscle soreness," says Dr. Lisa Ashe, Medical Director of BeWell Medicine over email with Bustle. Doing dynamic stretching prior to working out can loosen up muscles to prevent injury, such as jumping jacks and squats, while laying down on a mat to really work on stretching muscles post-workout can allow the body to recover. You can even pull out a foam roller!

2. Drink More

Ashe recommends "increasing hydration" during workouts, following workouts, and simply just throughout the day, as muscles can get stiff when the body is dehydrated. My providing more fluid, you'll be able to loosen muscles and joints and beat out inflammation in the body, which could also be contributing to soreness, advises Ashe.

3. Boost Circulation

Ashe recommends increasing circulation to ease muscle soreness. It's often thought that if you're sore, you should rest and stop movement; however, soreness and pain are different. If in pain, stop activity and rest, but if you're sore, do something light to boost circulation and minimize soreness. "Take a walk or do light cardio to help increase blood flow to areas of soreness," advises Ashe.

4. Try A Massage

Ashe recommends massaging the areas where you are sore, as giving the body a touch of love and kindness can do wonders for loosening up tightness and making the body feel more comfortable and rested. If you don't want to do your own massage with your hands, you can also invest in a professional massage, and point out the key areas to the masseuse.

5. Use Ice

"For the brave, cold water immersion techniques like an ice bath or cryotherapy are effective supplements to massage therapy. These techniques constrict blood vessels and reduce metabolic activity to diminish soreness and tissue breakdown, further adding to a speedy recovery," explains Nic Bartolotta, Chief Clinical Officer, Range of Motion, over email with Bustle. He recommends including "massage tools to help relieve post-workout soreness," and recommends the Rolflex.

6. Use Heating Pads

It's not just ice that can heal the body, but heating pads can also ease soreness and help repair worn out muscles, advises Ashe. Alternating between the heating pads and the ice packs could actually be the perfect pair, as such heat therapy and manipulation of direct temperature can heal the body and ease soreness, explains Ashe. You can also "soak in the tub," advises Ashe, for greater heat all around.

7. Rest More

Sore muscles can come from a sore mind and body, so it's important to "rest more" and aim for better care in sleep, napping, and tranquil activities that can provide rejuvenation and reduce stress, explains Ashe. Try to get to bed sooner, getting about 7-9 hours nightly, in order to feel more restored, and consistently make time for "chill time" where you can just be.

8. Warm Up More Before Workouts

Over email with Bustle, Tim Miller, MD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, explains that "one of the simplest ways to get rid of muscle soreness after a workout is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Some of the best ways to do this are by working into your exercise program gradually to allow the bones, muscles, and other soft tissues to adapt to the tasks you're asking them to perform." Miller suggests, "a gradual warmup, stretching before and after the workout and then a solid warm-down along with proper hydration and post-workout nutrition" for preventing muscle soreness.

9. Eat Nutritious Foods

Miller recommends providing your body with the nutrients it needs to repair muscles and ease inflammation and soreness. "Fuel your body with protein and carbohydrate-rich foods," Miller recommends, as these foods can help combat broken down muscles and provide more strength and energy to the affected areas. "While the cold weather makes comfort food more appealing, opt for foods rich in Vitamin C (oranges, peppers, tomatoes), Vitamin K (greens; spinach, kale) and good fatty acids (salmon, avocado, nuts)," advises Susan Hazels Mitmesser, PhD, Sr. Director, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs, NBTY, Inc., with Osteo Bi-Flex, over email with Bustle.

Feeling sore isn't fun for everyone, but if you know how to attack the problem, you'll be feeling liek yourself in no time.