Feeling sore after a race or a particularly intense workout? Before you reach for the pills, there’s plenty you can do to soothe your weary muscles and alleviate the pain in the comfort of your own home. Try these home remedies to reduce the soreness and shorten your recovery time significantly.
If you're in pain and struggling to get down the stairs, you might be suffering from painful joints, inflammation, or DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). DOMS is a mild muscle soreness that occurs six to eight hours after your workout, and is usually at its most painful around 24-48 hours later. Read this article if you're wondering if you should run with DOMS
Note: Make sure you drink plenty of water as dehydration can exacerbate muscle pain.
The first thing to do if you’re sore straight after a run is to reach for the ice. As well as relieving pain, ice constricts the blood vessels, reducing the flow of blood to the area and therefore reducing inflammation.
Ice the affected area for at least 10 minutes and you are less likely to be sore later on.
If you’re in pain the day after your workout, a hot bath will help your sore muscles relax naturally. Add a cup of Epsom salts to your bath water to help ease the aches and pains.
The high magnesium content in Epsom salts relaxes the muscles, while the salts will help draw excess fluids out of your aching muscles.
Sour cherry juice
Montmorency or tart cherries possess excellent anti-inflammatory properties and have long been a go-to remedy for arthritis sufferers. Cherries contain a high concentrate of anthocyanins which help with muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress.
Recent studies have found that drinking sour cherry juice before and after you workout can help to prevent muscle damage and aid recovery.
This bright yellow spice is a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. It can help alleviate post-workout joint and muscle pain. Check out the many benefits of turmeric for runners
Make your own turmeric latte:
- Add a teaspoon of ground turmeric to a cup of milk, almond milk or coconut milk.
- You can also add vanilla essence, ground ginger and cinnamon if you like.
- Heat, stir well and serve.
Used in Chinese medicine for centuries, ginger can help with nausea, boasts anti-inflammatory properties and helps relieve muscle pain.
Try a hot ginger and lemon drink:
- Peel and slice some fresh ginger.
- Add it to a cup of just-boiled water.
- Squeeze in some lemon and a spoonful of honey.
Apple cider vinegar
It may not be what you'd most like to knock back after a workout, but apple cider vinegar is great for sore muscles and leg cramps.
Try this at home:
- Drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water.
- You can also add honey and fresh mint to make it more palatable.
Magnesium, calcium and potassium
Muscle soreness and cramps are often caused by lack of essential minerals, such as magnesium. If you suffer from severe DOMS, ensure you're eating enough foods containing these three minerals:
- Magnesium: pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, cocoa powder, black beans and Swiss chard.
- Potassium: bananas, dark leafy greens, squash, yogurt, fish, avocado, and mushrooms.
- Calcium: Milk, kale, yoghurt, broccoli and sardines.
Finally, remember that rest is essential for your body to repair muscle damage and achieve fitness gains. If you head off for another hard workout too soon, you may be twice as sore afterwards.