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November 11, 2018: Sore Muscles

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

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Oh, the love hate relationship with sore muscles - they help you know you killed it in your workout but they make you cringe if you dare to walk downstairs the next day. This week we’re going to talk about soothing your sore muscles.

What’s with the soreness?

Muscles get micro tears when you work them out, and then they rebuild, using protein, to create muscle. Sounds like it would hurt, right? Well, that’s not what actually causes your soreness. Your initial soreness that you feel right after working out is caused by a buildup of lactic acid. That’s what “feeling the burn” is. If it still hurts to move the next day...and the’re experiencing a rush of white blood cells, prostaglandins (anti-inflammatory), and other nutrients and fluids that all arrive at the same time to repair the damage after an intense session causing swelling and inflammation that can last for days. That’s called delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. While some workout buffs love the soreness, others prefer not to walk around like a zombie. If that’s you, here are a few tips and remedies to help ease the pain.

How to ease the pain

First things first - water is your best friend. If you’re dehydrated and also sweating during your workout, your muscles will be tighter and more prone to injury. Staying hydrated before, during, and after your workout is the first step to preventing injury and soreness. Ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory medication taken before or after a workout has also proven to be an effective remedy. Here are some other ways to help with the soreness:

  • Massages – If you’re able to splurge on a massage or have a loved one with good hands a massage, sometimes a lot of massaging, has been proven to aid in relieving the pain. Studies have shown subjects who received massages after an intense workout had 30% less muscle pain than those that did not. Hot tip - I go to my local $1/minute massage place. It’s as good as the $200 places!

  • Cold packs – Make your own, use frozen vegetables, whatever works for you, but any form of cold on a potentially sore area will reduce the flow of blood to the area and reduce inflammation.

  • Epsom bath – On the other end of the spectrum, filling a hot bath with Epsom salts will quicken the healing process by increasing blood flow and the magnesium in the salt nurtures muscle relaxation. This particular remedy is recommended 24 hours after the pain sets in.

  • Ginger – Raw ginger or heated ginger has natural inflammatory properties and works to enhance blood flow and circulation to alleviate pain. You can add a raw piece to boiling water to create a tea or wrap it in cotton and drop in hot water, allow to cool and apply as a compress to the injured areas.

Sore muscles are a literal pain, but you can try different paths to find relief. Also, sore muscles don’t have to stop you from working out. Studies show a light cardio workout before strength training will help loosen up your muscles for the next round. But, if the pain is too much, you can always take a day off. Your body will let you know what course works best for you.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about maintaining your weight and preventing unwanted weight gain. This will be especially handy as you move into the holiday season.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

My weekly GYSTS email give you one actionable thing to do for the week that will make you life a little easier. As "they" say, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." Get these emails (and more!) delivered right to your inbox by clicking HERE.