Your arms ache. It hurts to laugh. And climbing the stairs? Not a chance with those tight glutes and tender calves.
Muscle soreness can strike at any stage of your fitness journey — whether you’ve just run a marathon, bench-pressed your body weight or sashayed through your first Zumba lesson — and it’s usually nothing to worry about.
But that doesn’t mean that sore muscles aren’t aggravating, annoying and downright agonizing — especially when you’re trying to get after new workout goals. After all, when you can barely bend over to tie your sneakers, how are you supposed to make it to the gym?
Thankfully, there are steps you can take and natural remedies like CBD oil to ease the aches and discomfort that can arrive with physical activity. Let’s take a closer look below at how to get rid of soreness.
#1 Rest and Recover
You did your first deadlift yesterday and felt on top of the world — but this morning, you’re having trouble crawling out of bed. You might have delayed muscle soreness.
Delayed muscle soreness occurs when you put your muscles through levels of stress that they aren’t used to handling, like:
- Running an extra mile
- Upping your reps
- Adding one too many push-ups
When you engage your muscles in eccentric and lengthening motions (running downhill or curling your biceps), you can create small microtears in the muscle, creating soreness and discomfort.
Muscle soreness might be miserable, but it’s common — and the discomfort will likely dissipate in a few days, typically between 48 and 72 hours. During that time, you should take care to rest your sore muscles.
Don’t worry about losing your fitness momentum. Overworking your weary muscles won’t make you a hero, but it might put you at risk of strains. If sitting out a workout for a couple of days wasn’t hard enough, try sitting out for a few weeks.
But rest assured: resting your sore muscles doesn’t mean that you need to lay in bed. In fact, it’s best practice to use the recovery time to engage another set of muscles. Tired glutes? Time for triceps. Sore chest? How about squats?
By alternating which muscle groups you target by day, you can avoid putting undue stress on one zone, and spread the love (or soreness) throughout your body.
While it might seem daunting to get back on the saddle when parts of your body feel tight and fatigued, you might find that staying active — while remaining mindful of your maxed-out muscles — can ease some of the irritation that comes with soreness. Indeed, exercise boosts “feel-good” endorphins, which can bring feelings of euphoria and blood flow, which can promote tissue healing and soothe muscle discomfort.
#2 Cool Down, Then Heat Up
It’s possible that you might be able to take the edge off of your muscle soreness before it even strikes. A 2012 study showed that women who finished a strength workout with 20 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling reported reduced muscle aches.
While it might seem counterintuitive that more activity means less soreness, it seems that dedicated cooling-down sessions can help you rebound more quickly.
Cool-down activities should be light intensity and aerobic, like:
- Light jogging
- Light cycling
- Brisk walking
After you cool down, it’s time to switch gears. While many of us are familiar with images of beleaguered athletes braving ice baths, experts suggest that heat can be more effective when soothing sore muscles.
Heat, after all, is a vasodilator — it opens up blood vessels and promotes blood flow. And by applying heat to your muscles, you boost your circulation, allowing your body to flush out tenderness and carry fresh oxygen and healing nutrients to the damaged muscle fiber.
Research suggests that heat can soothe sore muscles, so after you go hard at the squat rack or swim too many laps, plug in the heating pad.
#3 Refuel Your Body
After an intense workout, you might feel depleted — ready for a big snack and an ice-cold beverage. But did you know that refueling after a strenuous exercise can actually help ease your aching muscles?
When you eat protein and carbohydrates (think: juicy turkey burger or delicious peanut butter banana shake) after a workout, you’re giving your body crucial amino acids and glucose that will aid in protein synthesis to repair and rebuild your muscle fiber.
You can also try the following superfoods to pump up your recovery:
- Tart cherry juice – To wash down your refueling feast, try tart cherry juice. Rich with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, tart cherry juice has been shown to reduce post-race aches experienced by long-distance runners.
- Mushrooms – These friendly fungi contain polysaccharides, compounds that fight soreness. They have been valued as food and medicine in many parts of the world for centuries thanks to their rich nutrient levels and bioactive properties.
- Fatty fish – Eating protein after a workout is always a wise idea. And it’s even better if that protein comes from a can of sardines or a filet of salmon. Experts recommend indulging in fatty fish after exercise, given that it’s rich in omega-3 fats, which may reduce soreness and promote muscle growth.
- Watermelon juice – This sweet treat is not only thirst-quenching; it’s a tasty, refreshing answer to the question of how to get rid of muscle soreness. Watermelon contains L-citrulline, an amino acid that increases nitric oxide, improving blood circulation in muscles. Research shows that athletes who consume watermelon juice may experience reduced muscle ache after 24 hours.
- Eggs – Cook up a veggie-packed omelet before you leave for the day, or dine on cheesy egg casserole. Either way, eggs — and not just the whites — are incredibly nutrient-dense and beneficial to those wanting to soothe and grow their muscles.
#4 Roll With It
When you’re so sore that you can’t imagine walking, it might be time to roll around. Foam rolling may alleviate some of your acute muscle soreness, tending to the fatigue and tenderness that can come with it.
Just 20 minutes of rolling out your weary, achy muscles with a high-density foam roller may reduce your discomfort and induce relaxation.
Because foam rolling entails necessary contact with muscle tissue that’s tender and tight, it might feel a little uncomfortable — but its recovery-boosting powers suggest that the discomfort might be worth your while. Just remember:
- Listen to your body – It should feel intense, but it shouldn’t hurt too much. You should feel pressure when you massage your problem areas (this means that you’re rehydrating your muscles and removing toxins), but always listen to your body and pay attention to your discomfort. If you notice that you’re hurting, stop. You might be damaging your nerves or causing your muscles to contract even more.
- Relax your mind – Use the foam roller for stretches of 30 to 90 seconds, slowing down in areas that feel sore. If you arrive at an achy area, just breathe deeply. Relaxing may help release the tension in the muscles.
#5 Try CBD For Soreness
Do you want to know how to prevent muscle soreness or even get rid of it? To soothe your sore muscles, it might serve you to try cannabidiol (CBD). If the only high you’re after is a runner’s high, CBD might be right for you. A non-impairing chemical compound found in cannabis and hemp plants, CBD may prevent soreness through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system. It is even one of the most effective natural sleep aids used today.
The endocannabinoid system has been linked to:
- Chronic aches
- Muscle formation
But it’s also tied to a lot more. In fact, the endocannabinoid system is a vast network of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors found in many of the body’s systems, including the:
- Central nervous system
- Peripheral nervous system
- Digestive system
- Immune system
Many believe that CBD works to preserve the endocannabinoid system and that the compound may manage body aches, soreness and bodily discomfort.
If your recovery periods are marked by muscle fatigue and tightness, CBD might provide relief for your tired, tender zones.
The best part? CBD may also work topically to soothe exercise-related soreness. That means that you can target your achy muscles directly and rapidly, likely in the time it might take you to find the heating pad or fish the can of sardines out of your cupboard.
Zebra CBD: Stay Active and Ache-Free
At Zebra CBD, we know that maintaining health and happiness means embracing a physically active lifestyle and understanding how to reduce muscle soreness. While muscle aches can bog down the best of us, it’s important to keep moving. After all, when we stay active, we actually boost our recovery and enjoy all of those mood-boosting endorphins.
As your trusted CBD experts, we’re determined to bring you premium CBD products that can help you meet your fitness goals with ease and comfort.
And like all of our CBD products, our topical balms and rubs are vegan and free from heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides, so you can take care of your body and keep your peace of mind.
Are you ready to discover the soothing potential of CBD? Run, don’t walk, to Zebra CBD.
WebMD. Coping with Sore Muscles after Physical Activity. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/sore-muscles-dont-stop-exercising#1
Women’s Health. How To Prevent—And Deal With—Post-Workout Muscle Soreness. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a22602791/how-to-get-rid-of-sore-muscles/
Healthline. The 10 Best Muscle Recovery Food and Drinks. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-muscle-recovery-foods
Men’s Health. How to Use Your Foam Roller on Muscles. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a25936990/foam-roller-reduce-pain-soreness/