You’ve likely heard the phrase “use it or lose it.” We know we need to use our muscles in order to keep them in good shape. Being active is invaluable for our overall fitness, but most everyone has experienced over doing it and ended up with sore muscles.
Warm up your muscles first if you’re going to be active — either a recreational or work activity. Move around to get blood flowing to the muscles you’ll use in your activity. Walking or jogging can help you warm up.
Stretch the muscles you’ll be working for a few minutes. Stretching should not be painful, and you shouldn’t bounce while stretching.
Have a cool-down phase after your activity. This can include around 10 minutes of walking or jogging followed by stretching.
Stay hydrated throughout your activity.
Stay active. The more you use your muscles, the less likely you are to get sore. Get up and stretch regularly if you work at a desk or in a situation where you have a risk of muscle strain or tension. The National Institutes of Health recommend getting up and stretching at least every 60 minutes.
If you feel pain during physical activity, that pain can be a sign of a pulled or strained muscle.
Use R.I.C.E. therapy after the activity to relieve pain.
If you notice muscle soreness a day or two after a physical activity, this is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It’s perfectly normal.
Here are some self-care ideas you can try:
Rest your sore muscles. If your activity is competitive, such as athletics, you’ll be below your peak performance for a few days. A few days of easy exercise prevents further muscle damage and reduces chances for injury.
See your health care provider if muscle pain:
Seek immediate medical attention if your muscle pain is accompanied by:
Your health care provider can give you guidance on ways to keep your muscles toned and ready for activities you want to do — without leaving you sore!