Being sore after leg day is very common and usually results from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Stiff and tired muscles that feel sore the day or even two days after your workout can put a damper on your motivation; this is especially true for after exercising legs. However, taking a few key measures can help you prevent and treat leg muscles so that you can continue your regular workout schedule.
Change Your Warm-Up
A 5-10 minute warm up before your workout can help to avoid pain by loosening and warming up muscles. Start by walking or jogging at slow pace to get leg muscles warmed up and loosed. During the workout, introduce new exercises gradually. Also, add a few sprints to a regular 30-minute job periodically instead of trying to sprint or run at a fast pace the entire time. At the end of the workout, cool down in a similar manner to the warm up.
Finish leg day by stretching leg muscles for a few minutes. A good stretch is sitting on the floor and reaching towards the toes. Lean into the stretch to feel the muscles lengthen and hold for up to 30 seconds without bouncing. Incorporating these ideas into leg day significantly decreases muscle soreness.
Treating Leg Soreness
When experiencing pain the day after, there are a few key ways to treat this and make it back into the gym quickly. One of the key recommendations is increasing antioxidant content. Antioxidants after a workout decrease muscle soreness and reduce cramping. While eating a balanced diet rich in[image_right src=”https://widerun.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Sore-Legs-300×224.jpg”] fruits and vegetables is a good recommendation for general health, you can boost antioxidant intake by drinking tart cherry juice. Based on a recent study, athletes who drank just half a cup after their workouts were able to recover faster with less muscle soreness. Tart cherry juice in its purest form is best, although it can be mixed with other drinks or incorporated into a post-workout smoothie if desired.
If feeling extreme pain, it may be a good idea to take an anti-inflammatory and apply ice for 10 minutes. Work out if the soreness subsides or decreases considerably after taking the medication or using ice. This should naturally not be used on a regular occurrence but can be used as part of the post-workout treatment if the pain is severe.
Another way to treat sore legs is by elevating them. Elevate the legs above the heart to improve circulation. Because lactic acid builds up in the muscles during a workout, it takes time for the circulatory system to get rid of these compounds which can cause muscles to become sore and stiff. Moving this lactate around is essential for a speedy recovery. Raising the legs above the heart is fairly simple and can significantly speed up recovery. Use a chair or pillows to raise the legs effectively.
These are some of the key ways to avoid muscle soreness after leg day. While some muscle discomfort is unavoidable, these tips can help people get back in the gym and continue to workout without having to change a schedule or intensity. Use one or more of these tips to get a better workout and speak up recovery.