Muscles can be sore for several reasons: overuse, misuse and poor posture are all common causes for muscle soreness. And consider this, when you work out at the gym, you are intentionally damaging your muscles to grow them. Strenuous activity such as weightlifting stretches and contracts muscles, causing micro tears, and when they repair themselves, they grow. Happily there’s plenty you can do to relax your muscles without having to resort to painkillers.
Ice or heat
If muscles are sore as a result of strenuous exercise, heat can work wonders. A hot water bottle, heat pad or even a relaxing bath can relax your muscles and provide natural pain relief.
But if you’ve pulled a muscle, ice is the better option. Ice can help to calm inflammation, bruising, swelling and redness, plus it acts as a great numbing agent and can ease pain too.
Rest and elevate
When exercise makes your muscles sore it’s important you rest and give them time to recover. This could take the shape of a gentle walk or cycle – the key is not to do anything too strenuous. Also, keeping the area elevated should help keep inflammation to a minimum.
If you are prone to muscle soreness during or after exercise, also referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS for short, you may not be drinking enough water. Dehydration can contribute to muscle cramps and can be made worse if you’ve worked up a sweat. You should replace lost fluids during exercise, especially endurance exercise, and always top up once you’ve finished.
Supplement with magnesium
Did somebody say muscle cramps? Magnesium deficiencies are a common occurrence and one of the tell-tale signs you’re low in this mighty mineral is muscle cramps. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant, and is involved in sending nerve signals that help your muscles and brain to relax. 90% of the body's magnesium is found in muscles and bones, and so when levels are low, magnesium is pulled from these areas, which leads to muscle cramps and twitches.
Foods rich in magnesium include spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs and bananas, and are relatively easy to incorporate into your diet. But there are also lots of magnesium supplements to choose from, including relaxing magnesium bath salts or flakes.
Bathing with magnesium flakes can help to restore magnesium levels in the body, plus the bath itself will be soothing. Try BetterYou Magnesium Flakes or BetterYou Magnesium Muscle Flakes . They both provide Zechstein magnesium chloride, which comes from a natural source, deep inside the Earth’s crust, protected from man-made pollutants for over 250 million years, ensuring its purity. Simply add 250g of flakes to your bath water, lie back and relax for 20 minutes.
Rub muscles better
For topical relief from inflammation try A.Vogel’s Atrogel Arnica Gel . Although a popular choice for bruises, Arnica is also great at relieving pain and stiffness in joints and muscles, and reducing swelling. In fact, clinical research has shown it to be just as effective as ibuprofen at reducing pain and stiffness in the fingers of osteoarthritis patients. And unlike conventional painkillers that can cause unwanted side-effects, this 100% natural alternative to NSAIDs is safe for long-term use. Massage into the affected area and let Arnica work its magic!