The New Year often brings a renewed enthusiasm for exercise, whether it be through some New Year’s resolutions or just more motivation to hop back on the bandwagon and make use of that gym membership. However, a new (or revamped) exercise routine often comes with an influx of sore muscles. We’ve been there. The aches and pains, the agony of lifting your arms over you head after an intense upper-body workout, or the awkward lowering-down-onto-the-toilet thing you do when your quads are suffering from leg day.
Well, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is that a little muscle soreness is pretty likely when you’re upping your workout routine. The good news? There are things you can do to help speed up your muscle recovery and make the transition a little easier.
Here are four tips to support your muscle recovery:
- Sleep – Our bodies perform a large portion of their repairs when we’re asleep, so it’s imperative that when we’re in a regular exercise routine we give our bodies ample time to perform those repairs. For optimal healing time, and for us to perform to our peak during our next workout, it’s recommended that we get 7-8 hours of rest a night.
- Water – We mean both drinking it AND bathing in it! Dehydration is often the cause of sore muscles post-workout, so make sure you’re drinking approximately 2 litres of water on a day when you are exercising.
- Protein – Protein is your best friend when it comes to speeding up the recovery process. Think about incorporating high-protein foods into your meals such as fish, eggs and other dairy products, tofu, chickpeas and lentils
- Roll it out – Knots in our fascia are another big reason that we feel can muscle soreness after a workout. The best way to break up these knots is to practice myofascial release using a foam roller.