You know the feeling. You haven’t worked out in a few weeks and you finally head to boot camp. You work muscles that haven’t been used in a while. The next morning you have trouble getting out of bed and walking across the room because your muscles are too sore and stiff. While this soreness is normal, it can be uncomfortable and slow you down for a day or two.

Known as delayed onset muscle soreness, (a.k.a. DOMS), this reaction to new movements is a serious pain. It happens when you increase your muscle exertion and tiny tears occur in your muscle fibers and connective tissues. As these fibers heal, your muscles will become stronger and larger. By continuing the same movements, your muscles will get used to the exertion and in the future you won’t experience soreness.

Don’t let DOMS keep you from exercising or going to boot camp, read on for some suggestions that the Colorado Springs boot camp has on preventing and soothing sore muscles.

Stop It First

ColoradoSpringBootcampNothing seems to be 100% effective in preventing muscle soreness following new or intense exercise. But there are ways to lessen your chances and lessen the pain. If you’re new to boot camps or exercise in general, the best way to avoid DOMS is by starting off slowly and then gradually increasing your intensity each subsequent time you exercise. By doing this, your muscles won’t tear as easily and will have time to adapt to their new requirements. Don’t go more than a few days between exercising or your muscles will have to readapt each time.

Another way to lessen the impact on your muscles is to start each boot camp session with a short warm-up period. Despite what was once thought, stretching before your workout doesn’t prevent injury or soreness. Instead, stretch after boot camp, when your muscles are warm and loose.

If you’re worried about sore muscles, you may be tempted to take a nonsteroidal drug prior to your workout. This, however, doesn’t protect your muscles from soreness. On the contrary, it may actually be harmful to your intestines.

A final method to fend off soreness is to eat well. Doing this ensures your muscles have the energy they need for boot camp. Fuel your muscles with a high-carb snack or meal prior to your session, and then replenish your muscles with protein following your workout. For an added DOMS-preventing boost, some believe a diet high in vitamin C does the trick, so give it a try.

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Relieving Your Muscles

On those days you do experience sore muscles, you’ll need a good way to relieve your pain. A hot bath or heating pad may feel nice, but they won’t do anything to heal your damaged muscles. If your muscles feel tight, try soaking in a warm bath sprinkled with two cups of Epsom salts.

Indirectly icing your sore muscles for 10 to 15 minutes every hour with an ice pack covered in a thin towel may reduce inflammation and provide some relief. Taking acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug may also be helpful. A gentle massage may also feel great on tight, sore muscles.

Some have found relief from drinking tart cherry juice. The antioxidants in this fruit may lessen muscle aches and speed recovery.

But if your muscle pain comes on suddenly or is unbearable, the boot camp in Colorado Springs says that you may have injured yourself and need a doctor’s attention. Call your doctor if your pain is severe or if it lasts more than a couple days.