Minimize Your Post-Workout Pain

We all know that getting exercise is important for our well-being; it builds bone and muscle, strengthens our hearts and boosts our brains and mood. The sore muscles you often have after a workout can be an unpleasant side effect but can be minimized if you treat yourself right before, during and after:

Warming Up

Spend at least 10 to 15 minutes doing this. Stretching is the go-to for many people for warming up and if it works for you, keep doing it. But says studies show doing light versions of exercises like jogging, cycling or lifting weights may do a better job of increasing blood flow to your muscles.


Drinking enough water loosens your joints, transports nutrients throughout your body for more energy and helps control your temperature. This lets your body perform at its highest level. Without it you may experience cramps, dizziness and more serious symptoms.

The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before working out, then another 8 ounces 20-30 minutes before starting.

Then during your workout, drink 7 to 10 more ounces every 10 to 20 minutes, and finally 8 more ounces 30 minutes afterward — plus more. If you know about how much weight you lose during the kind of workout you just did, drink 16 to 24 ounces for each pound lost. .

Active Rest

Wait 48 hours before working the same muscle group at the same intensity. Lighter exertion of the same muscles over the next couple of days can help reduce the soreness you feel. Stopping exercise during rest periods is not recommended, says.

Using proper technique

Watch instructors and more experienced athletes to learn the proper stance and posture to use for your cardio and strength training exercises to reduce the risk of injury and generalized soreness.

Cooling Down

This is when you stretch. Stretching muscles works best while they’re warmer and more flexible to prevent soreness, while also recirculating blood from your muscles back toward your heart for recovery.

Know Your Limits

Try to resist the temptation to push yourself beyond a slow progression in the length and intensity of your workouts. This takes patience but is the best way to prevent injuries that could sideline you for a while.

Relieve Sore Muscles

Some muscle pain after working out is inevitable and is part of the process of building back stronger. There are many effective home or over-the-counter treatments to reduce both acute (immediate) soreness and delayed-onset pain that can peak a few days later:

  • Pain relievers such as NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen sodium) or acetaminophens (brand names include Tylenol and Panadol)
  • Gels containing menthol or capsaicin (brands include Aspercreme or IcyHot)
  • Warm baths or showers
  • Ice packs
  • Muscle massage

Contact your health care provider if the soreness lasts a week or more, gets worse with exercise, is in your joints, bones or tendons or leads to shortness of breath and other symptoms.