Can you reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout?

We couldn’t say that it’s breaking news that an active lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise is essential for your wellbeing and mental and physical health. You probably know by now that training regularly keeps you nimble and strong because it prevents health issues and improves your mood. Regular exercising can also be a fun way to socialize because you engage with people who share your interests. 

However, even if regular exercising comes with numerous benefits, it also causes muscle soreness, which can interfere with your daily activities. When you push yourself a little harder than usual, start a new fitness routine, or try some new exercises, your muscles ache the days after the workout.  You can experience different types of post-workout pains and aches, and it’s essential to differentiate them so you can pick the right method to alleviate them.

Types of aches you can feel after exercising

Delayed onset muscle soreness

You most likely are familiar with this if, suppose you work out regularly. You usually start experiencing the first symptoms somewhere around 12-24 hours after the fitness session and the peak pain hits at around 48-72 hours. Delayed onset muscle soreness is associated with the microscopic damage in your muscles resulting after working out. Pain is part of the healing and repairing process, and often fitness enthusiasts associate it with a good workout. However, you might not experience the pain so often as you gain strength and resistance. It usually pops up when you change the workouts or increase the exercise intensity. Weightlifting and strength training are usually associated with delayed onset muscle soreness. However, you can also get DOMS if you attend aerobics classes, do yoga and Pilates, or jog around the park. All new physical activity can cause muscle soreness.

Acute muscle soreness

Depending on how intense your workout is, this can occur immediately after exercising and last for an hour or more. It is the result of the buildup of the byproducts your body produces as it breaks down glucose. It flushes out the byproducts before using them and causes a burning sensation in the muscles you put tension on.  

Severe muscle pain that requires medical care

In case you ever experience intense muscle pain paired with difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, dizziness, stiff neck, or a high fever, get medical help ASAP. 

Now let’s assume that you’re only looking for a way to alleviate DOMS. Here is what you can do. 


It’s crucial to take the necessary time to stretch before and after exercise to improve mobility, prevent injury, and manage muscle soreness. Fitness experts recommend active warming up and stretching before any workout session and static stretching after the workout to relax the muscles. 

Active warm-up wakes up your muscles because it increases the blood flow and prepares them for the intense effort they’re about to go through. 

It’s also recommended to do an active cool down if you engage in HIIT workouts to give help your circulation slow down and gradually cool down your muscles. 

Active recovery is also popular among fitness lovers because it’s effective in reducing muscle soreness and preventing injury. 

Fish oil supplements

Taking fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids could alleviate muscle pain and boost muscle recovery. Fatty acids are beneficial for your immune system and lower inflammation, so they could prove useful during the recovery process. However, before taking any supplements, discuss with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to find out what dose is recommended for you. 

Cannabis supplements

For many fitness lovers, cannabis is a part of their training and recovery routines. Adding cannabis seeds to your post-workout smoothie can reduce the delayed onset of muscles soreness because cannabis has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which are pretty helpful when recovering from intense training. 

Depending on how you prefer to take supplements, you can choose from a variety of products. For example, the blueberry strain is excellent for being added to smoothies and cupcakes. 

A balanced diet

What you eat has a huge impact on how fast your body recovers. The foods you eat daily directly influence your general comfort and wellbeing. Pineapple, for example, can prevent muscle soreness, but only if your diet is rich in protein, an adequate amount of carbohydrates, and healthy fats. 

The cardinal rule of recovering after an intense workout is to pair protein with complex carbohydrates to replenish your body with the necessary nutrients. Hydrating is also essential because you need to replenish the electrolytes you lose during your workout. Water helps you regulate your body temperature, transports nutrients to your organs, and loosens your joints. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll lack the necessary energy to complete your workouts and prolong your recovery. Drinking the needed amount of water, on the other hand, helps you prevent dizziness, fatigue, and cramps. 

Foam rolling

Foam rolling is a stretching method fitness experts recommend using to minimise muscle soreness after training. You should schedule a foam rolling session at the end of your led workouts to decrease the delayed onset muscle soreness. Make sure you foam roll each muscle group for 30 seconds to help it relax and break some of the soreness installed during the workout. Keep in mind that foam rolling might feel uncomfortable when your muscles are too tense. 


This might not be something you can do daily, but you could schedule a massage once a week to help your muscles relax and loosen up. Therapeutic massage is effective at removing some of the rightness built up in your muscles after several weight-lifting sessions. Even if it doesn’t take away all the pain, massage can improve DOMS symptoms and help you improve your muscle flexibility. 

You can also invest in a massage gun to use at home when you cannot have a professional massage. However, it’s best not to use it 12 hours after an intense workout because it can worsen the microtears in the muscles and delay recovery. 

Final words

Muscle soreness can prevent you from hitting the gym again and advancing in your training. Learn how to alleviate it to help your body recover and feel fantastic. 


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