Just as heavy drinking can give you hangovers, a hard workout can also lead to muscle soreness.
And as “dog hair” (ie more alcohol) can help relieve the former, moderate exercise can help you get rid of the latter – although it may also seem counterintuitive.
“It increases blood flow to the damaged muscles so that they heal faster,” explains physiotherapist Alexander Srokovskyi.
For example, he recommends walking, swimming and cycling.
However, you should not train the affected muscle groups harder than that, so wait before your next workout, and do not stretch either.
Otherwise, your relief efforts will be in vain and your athletic performance will decline, he warns, adding that you can even strain muscles or tear muscle fibers.
Particular caution is needed if a muscle hurts where it is attached to a bone, he says.
This is because it is a sure sign that the muscle has been overloaded.
But if you feel pain when you press on the muscle “stomach”, ie where the muscle is widest, then it is a mild case of soreness after exercise and nothing to worry about.
Useful for relaxing inflamed muscles are hot compresses, hot baths and sauna sessions, which at the same time stimulate the metabolism.
Ice baths and alternating hot and cold showers are also metabolically stimulating.
Massage is not a good idea if your muscles ache.
Kneading them too much or too heavily will also irritate the muscle fibers and could aggravate the micro tears in them caused by the workout.
But if you insist on getting some kind of massage, get a very gentle one, says Srokovskyi.
What can help, though, is lymphatic drainage, he points out.
A gentle form of massage, it involves manipulating specific areas of your body to help move lymph to an area of functioning lymphatic vessels.
Lymph is a pale fluid that maintains fluid balance in tissues and removes bacteria from them.
As Srokovskyi describes it, the microscopic damage to muscle fibers that results in soreness leads to an accumulation of fluid.
So a “decongestant” therapy is beneficial to speed up the healing process.
While there are definitely things that are worse than post-workout muscle soreness that might even be strangely satisfying – “no pain, no gain” after all – the question arises: Can it be avoided?
The answer is yes.
Srokovskyi says the key is to keep your workout regular and not overdo it.
If you increase their intensity, such as the amount of weight lifted or the number of repetitions, you should do it in small steps.
It is also important to warm up properly before you start.
Another tip: Make sure your diet is rich in magnesium.
Foods high in mineral content include sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, dates, spinach, oat flakes and parmesan cheese. – dpa