If you’ve ever done a hard workout or other strenuous activity, like moving furniture or lifting heavy boxes, you’ve probably experienced sore muscles. The feeling can be satisfying—a sign of a job well done—but sometimes sore muscles go a step beyond that good-hurt sensation.
When you find yourself needing relief, here are five ways to ease sore-muscle pain:
Use a foam roller
Studies have shown that using a foam roller can not only reduce muscle soreness but also improve range of motion and future recovery time. As a preventive measure, get in the habit of rolling out major muscle groups, like the quadriceps and hamstrings; and when you’re feeling soreness, go right to the source. If you need help getting started with a foam roller, check out this foam-roller video sequence by personal trainer Lauren Roxburgh. The combo of movements and breath work will help reduce stress while you’re easing sore muscles.
Pick up some arnica
Arnica gels and ointments are made from Arnica montana, a daisy-like plant that grows in the U.S. and Europe. It’s a natural treatment for many ailments, including muscle soreness and joint pain. Research suggests that topical arnica may decrease muscle soreness after exercise; so just apply to the area where you’re feeling it. Arnica can also be taken internally as a homeopathic remedy. It’s a great item to have in your natural first-aid kit!
Eat anti-inflammatory foods
If you have sore muscles, you likely have some inflammation happening in your body. Before you reach for Aleve or Advil, try caring for your sore muscles through your digestive tract, with anti-inflammatory foods. Turmeric and ginger make great additions to tea or as spices in many dishes. Olive oil and avocado are healthy fats with anti-inflammatory properties.
Take a Natural Calm Bath
Soaking in a warm bath feels great on sore muscles. You can take your post-workout soak to the next level by adding some Natural Calm Bath to the water. The magnesium helps relax the muscles, while the Brazilian gourmet sea salt detoxifies. The end result is a naturally calming way to soothe your mind and body.
It may feel counterintuitive to get up and move when your muscles are hurting, but it’s important. Staying sedentary with sore muscles will just keep them stiff and more vulnerable to injury when you return to activity. No need to dive right back into strenuous workouts, but staying active is key: go for a walk, find a gentle yoga class, or do some light weightlifting to keep your blood pumping!