If you’re a gymnast or a parent to one, surely you’d agree that gymnastics is full of great workouts and sore muscles afterward. We, at Gym Gab, aren’t physicians, but we are definitely active individuals and have coached many athletes, so we are certainly familiar with muscles and muscles being sore. Because of this, we thought you’d love some ideas as to how to get through those sore days a little easier.
Not all of them are for everyone, but we hope you’ll find a few of them to be helpful, if not some of your own new favorites!
Here are 10 of Jessie’s favorite remedies to relieve some of that soreness–and be sure to stay tuned for Makenna’s Favorites list to come!
1. SOAK IT UP with Epsom Salts – AKA Magnesium Sulfate. Did you know that most people are deficient in magnesium (an important mineral which helps regulate enzyme activity and proper bodily functions), and sulfate (a mineral which aids in the formation of brain tissue and joint proteins among other things). After a great, hard workout, sitting in a tub of Epsom Salts helps to restore these depleted minerals and in turn, restore and energize the functioning of the enzymes and proteins within the body.
HOW TO USE IT: It is recommended that for the best benefits one should soak in a bath with a cup or two of Epsom salts a few times a week. Be sure the salt is fully dissolved before getting in and soak for at least 12-15 minutes. The salts can be absorbed in the skin and have been known for centuries to help ease soreness, loosen tightness, soften skin, prevent wrinkles, and detoxify your body. You can get some HERE.
2. Take The Homeopathic Remedy Arnica Montana 30X – I am one of those “hippie” type who believes in homeopathic and natural remedies. They work! This one is made specifically for bruising and sore muscles. Known in Germany as the “Stand Up or Go Home” and “Wound Herb,” this homeopathic remedy comes from a plant in the daisy family. As it is well known for collecting massive amounts of sun in the high mountains, mountains climbers were the first to discover the amazing abilities it has to help repair wounds and reduce bruising and pain from accidental falls (more info HERE).
HOW TO USE IT: All you have to do is dissolve 1-2 tablets (depending on age) under your tongue 4 times per day. They are tasteless—it just feels like a tiny pebble of chalk dissolving under your tongue–and you’ll see results! You can get some HERE.
3. Rub It Out with THE STICK – According to a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine (and the millions of studies we’ve done in the gym-ha!) massaging sore muscles not only reduces the inflammation of the muscle tissues but also helps to build fitter, healthier muscles! Read more about the cool new research HERE. Though these findings are great excuses to beg your loved ones to rub you out every night, they probably aren’t going to want to as often as you could use it. So we fell in love with “The Stick.”
HOW TO USE IT: This is a super-easy-to use stick that has lovely moving pieces all along it that somehow magically work the muscle tissue like you were getting a fancy Swedish massage–but you can use it before, during, and after a workout without having to use your puppy-dog eyes. Just place the middle of the stick on the sore area and push/pull it back and forth until you’re softened inside and out! We love it and totally recommend it. You can get one HERE.
4. Ice, Ice, Baby – Icing (aka applying an ice compress to a sore area) reduces swelling and inflammation tremendously by reducing the blood flow to the area and slows the nerve firing which, in turn, reduces the pain you’re feeling. Growing up, we didn’t have a fancy contraption such as The CryoCup. We would just fill small paper cups up with water, freeze them over night, peel off the bottom part of the cup from the ice, and rub the ice over our sore muscles and joints until we felt better. But with the CryoCup, there’s no messy paper or continual run down the paper-goods isle. These things are genius, if we say so ourselves, and if you’re serious about becoming a serious athlete, you may as well put them on your wish list.
HOW TO DO IT: Pour water into the cups and freeze over night. When frozen, pull out the ice by holding onto the top piece and rub the ice on and around the injured area. Icing isn’t always the #1 choice for injuries, but most often, it is effective and helpful. Be sure to not hold the ice in one place for too long (we’ll be impressed if you CAN!) because frost bite CAN happen! You can get some CryoCups HERE and some more awesome tips about ice and icing your injuries HERE.
5. Hydrate with Tart Cherry Juice – We’re not talking Cherry Lemonade or Cherry Dr. Pepper here. We’re talking real cherries juiced into a super strength healing drink! Cherries belong to the RED FRUIT family and the red fruits are saturated with anthocyanins which are disease-fighing, anti-inflammatory antioxident phytochemicals (how’s that for a mouth full?!). In a study we found by BMJ Specialty Journals, it was discovered that people who drank cherry juice before and after workouts had far less muscle pain and far quicker recovery levels! Plus, cherry juice has natural sources of melatonin which means you’ll be sleeping better…With good sleep and all those antioxidents that help keep cells healthier and younger– you’ll be a healthier and younger YOU with every sip!
HOW TO USE IT: We‘ve found that the majority of research suggests that you put 1 ounce of tart cherry juice concentrate per 7 ounces of water to make a complete 8 ounces of juice– That one ounce of tart cherry juice took almost 100 cherries to make, so pucker up! You can buy just regular cherry juice (not concentrate) to begin with but we suggest the concentrate for full benefits. It might be SOUR but at least you won’t be so SORE!
6. Hydrate even more with Water – Good old fashioned H20. There is all kinds of research about how much better alkaline water is for your body. It detoxifies, hydrates, oxygenates, alkalizes your body’s pH (which helps stave off illness and injuries–including cancer and other diseases we all want to avoid), and boosts your own immune system. You can get alkaline water in most health stores. Be careful, most bottled waters are NOT alkaline water. If you can’t get a hold of alkaline water, drinking water from the fridge/tap is a great way to reduce soreness in your muscles because hydrating your body with water is a super THING to do. A dehydrated body usually takes water from the muscles first before other places which makes the lactic acid (the stuff that makes you feel sore) move slower and stay in your sore places long. The more you hydrate, the more your body can move fluids of all kinds through its system, therefore, reducing soreness and inflammation–not to mention that two-thirds of our muscles are made up of water–so if you want healthier muscles, you need to pump them up with water! When in doubt, end the drought. Ha. I just made that up.
HOW TO DO IT: Most people don’t have a great thirst-reflex that tells them they are thirsty. In general, an adult male should drink about 3 liters of water per day and a woman should drink about 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). In addition to that, we learned (from this article) that athletes should add 3-6 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise they do. Depending on the environment (temperature of air, inside or outside, intensity of workout) and each individual’s sweat, that number may need to be altered. Bottom line is this: Just drink more water. Always.
7. Allow FAT back into your diet – Say WHHHHAAAATTT?! Yes. Gratefully, the word fat is now associated with GOOD fats as much as it is with BAD fats. In order to function at optimal levels, the body requires two classes of fatty acids: omega-3s and omega-6s. These produce healthy hormones and other molecules that help to balance biochemical reactions that keep us alive and kicking (or in our case, flipping!). Good fats help regulate the inflammation within the body–and as you probably know, soreness is caused primarily from inflammation within the muscles and joints. When our [good] fat stores are too low, the body is unable to reduce the inflammation as well as rebuild the injured sites–which makes it harder to get up and keep moving….which will make bad fats build up quicker. No bueno.
HOW TO DO IT: My favorite sources for healthy fats are dietary. These include delicious options such as fish (like salmon and shrimp), flax seeds, walnuts and almonds, tofu, brussels sprouts and cauliflower, winter squash, olive oil, avocados, and soybeans! If these foods don’t sound awesome (why wouldn’t they?! YUM!!!) you can always supplement with options like THESE or for the younger kiddos, THESE.
8. Don’t forget protein – Muscles like protein and even the most vegetarian of us all still need protein. After a good workout, there is likely muscle damage (which causes soreness and inflammation), and the body spends a lot of time, energy, and amino acids to try to repair the damage that has been done through protein synthesis (for more in depth info on that, read HERE). The body needs proper nutrition to maintain health and balance, so feed it properly!
HOW TO DO IT: Eat Protein. That means meat, eggs, dairy, beans + rice, tofu, etc. If you need more ideas for NON meat protein sources, here’s a great place to look!
9. Stretch It Out Out Out Out Out Out…like Caramello – Who remembers that commercial?! Am I giving away my age too much?! Most anyone who has worked out agrees with most fitness professionals that stretching after a workout can reduce, if not eliminate stiff and sore muscles. Though stretching before and after workouts help with those soreness pains, research actually suggests that regular, daily stretching, provides the most benefits to reducing muscle soreness. When muscles are flexible, they have better circulation, range of motion, and a greater resilience to strain due to being worked. It won’t be just Yogis who enjoy a good stretch once you give it a try!
HOW TO DO IT: There are two main types of stretching: Static Stretching (holding a stretch for 10-60 seconds) and dynamic stretching (think swinging your arms and legs or jumping up and down to get the blood flowing). Most professionals suggest that doing dynamic stretching before a workout is best and saving the static stretching for afterward is optimal–but if you aren’t in the mood for a workout, reaching for your toes during commercials can have some serious benefits for later on!
10. And for your sore hands – don’t forget about our post about Rips and how to heal them more quickly HERE!
We hope these keep your summer post-workout days fresh, flexible, fun, and free of pain!