Exercise makes you feel great, but can leave you sore and sensitive in the days to follow. An especially grueling workout may have you struggling to walk normal or lift your arms above your head! Fortunately, there are number of things you can do to prevent and soothe sore muscles.
Stretching it out before and after you exercise should reduce muscle pains and help with recovery! Before a workout incorporate dynamic stretches that take your body through a range of motions and prepare it for physical activity. Post-workout you will want to include static stretches in your cool down routine that focus on lengthening and holding certain muscles.This can also be a great time to use a foam roller and increase range of motion. Stretching not only improves blood flow, but also muscle flexibility. Try these moves to fight fitness pains and recuperate faster:
Dynamic Stretches for Pre-Workout
These dynamic stretches will get your blood flowing and muscles moving before you exercise. Warming up with stretches can help prevent injury, improve fitness performance, and reduce soreness.
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. If needed, hold onto a wall or fixed object for stability. Raise your right leg off the ground and swing it back and then forward, as comfortable. This completes one swing. The motion should be similar to kicking a ball. Repeat this movement 10 times before switching sides and swinging the left leg. This will warm up your glutes, hips, and hamstrings.
The Sun Salutation is a great way to loosen up your body pre-workout. Start standing tall with your hands at your side and your feet shoulder-width apart in mountain pose. As you inhale, raise your hands overhead. As you exhale, release your arms and bend forward as you reach towards your toes for forward bend pose. Inhale as you lift your head and flatten your back. Move into plank pose as you exhale. Hold this position for another breath in. As you exhale once more lower your knees, chest, and chin towards the floor for chaturanga pose. Hover your shoulders above your hands as you move through the motion. Inhale as you straighten your arms and lift your chest into upward facing dog. Sink your feet into the floor and exhale while you drop your head and lift your butt for downward facing dog. Stay in the position for a few breaths and feel the stretch. Step out of downward facing dog as you exhale and return to a standing pose. Move through the Sun Salutation 2-3 times. Find more guidance and modifications for this flow here.
Remember doing jumping jacks in gym class? It turns out they are a great way to warm up — loosening your legs, arms, and core. Stand straight with your arms at your sides and your feet slightly apart. As you jump, move your feet apart and your arms overhead. Jump again to return to the starting position and complete one jumping jack. Perform jumping jacks for 30 seconds to get blood flowing before you exercise.
Lunge with Twist
Adding a twist to the classic lunge will stretch out your legs, hip flexors, and abdominal muscles. Start in a standing position and take a large step backwards with your right leg to move into a lunge. Your left knee should be stacked above your heel bent at a 90-degree angle. As you lunge twist back past your bent left knee and reach your right hand overhead. You should feel a stretch along your side. Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat the motion on the opposite side to complete one set. Finish 10 sets total.
Static Stretches for Post-Workout
These static stretches will help you recover after a tough workout! Loosen up and relieve tight muscles by performing the following stretches for 30-60 seconds each. Take a little longer on muscles that are particularly painful.
The hamstring is located on the back of your thigh and stretching it regularly is thought to help ease back pain. Stand with your feet slightly apart as you bend at the waist and reach towards your toes. Let your head and arms hang while you hold the stretch in a comfortable position. This shouldn’t feel painful, but you should feel the stretch.
The quadricep muscle is regularly used in everyday movements. Stand tall with both feet on the floor near a wall or fixed object for stability if needed. Using your right hand, lift your right foot and bend your knee back so your foot nears your bottom. You should feel a light stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold the position for 30+ seconds before switching and stretching the left quad.
Sore shoulders are no fun! Try this tricep stretch to loosen things up post-workout. Standing straight, raise both hands overhead. Bend your left arm so your hand rests on your right elbow. Bend your right arm so your elbow points towards the ceiling and your hand reaches straight down your back. Hold still as you stretch it out. Then switch sides!
Chest + Bicep Stretch
Arm day may leave you feeling extra tight. This chest and bicep stretch will help you keep things loose. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands behind your back and interlock fingers. Raise your arms together behind your back as comfortable, keeping them straight. You should feel a gentle pull in your chest and biceps.
While stretching before and after your fitness routine is important to prevent soreness, your diet also matters. Don’t forget about good nutrition! Muscles recuperate faster when they are properly hydrated and fueled. Looking for the perfect post-workout snack? Grab a Svelte® organic protein shake! With 11 grams of plant protein, complex carbohydrates, and just 6 grams of sugar — Svelte® is designed to help you recover.
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