Sore after a workout? You might wondering (maybe even a little desperately) how to speed up muscle recovery — delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is no joke. Good news: You can help your body recover faster by doing some specific things post-workout.
The Best Ways to Speed Up Muscle Recovery, According to Experts (Livestrong)
Posted: Jan 03, 2023 in In the News
This article originally appeared in LiveStrong on 1/3/2023.
The Best Ways to Speed Up Muscle Recovery, According to Experts
Muscle damage and soreness is inevitable if you're trying to build strength and fitness. "Our body gets stronger only when there is a signal to do so. Training is that signal, in the form of a certain amount of physical stress to the body. This stress is productive, but it is still a stress that the body needs to recover from," Cameron Yuen, DPT, CSCS, director of physical therapy and training at Bespoke Treatments in New York City, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
"When you introduce a new physical stress, the body generally gets sore and it takes a few days for this soreness to resolve," Yuen says. That novel stress can be from a new type of workout, ramping up your routine after taking some time off or simply adding more load or reps to your workout session.
"You may be sore even when trying a new activity, like pickleball," Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, clinical specialist in orthopedic physical therapy and spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association Media Corps, says. Anytime you're using your muscles in new ways, you're likely to end up with some amount of DOMS.
Post-workout, your body works hard to repair muscle damage. "The way the body recovers from damage is through a healing response that comes with inflammation," Yuen says. "This is a natural and important part of the process that you don't want to stop. This also tends to cause soreness."
The inflammatory process works on its own natural timeline, Yuen says. However, there are some things we can do to facilitate the process and make it more effective. There are also some things that we can do that hinder the process and accidentally slow down recovery.
8 Ways to Speed Up Muscle Recovery
While true muscle recovery simply takes time ("The body requires time to recover from a new demand on its system," Marko says), there are some things you can do to minimize DOMS and potentially feel better quicker post workout.
1. Hydrate Sufficiently
When we exercise, we lose a lot of fluids and salts known as electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium). "The salts that we lose are essential in providing a certain electrical gradient across our muscle cells, maintaining the correct fluid balance inside and outside of our cells and for bringing nutrients into our muscle cells," Yuen says.
Our muscles also use it to fuel recovery, Yuen says. Replenishing these stores is important for both facilitating recovery and preparing our bodies for the next tough workout.
So, what should you eat after your workout to optimize muscle repair? The American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends consuming 15 to 25 grams of protein and 1 to 2 grams of carbs per 2.2 pounds of body weight per hour of glycogen-depleting exercise. A little fat is good, too, to help you feel satisfied and full....
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