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Feeling sore after a new workout is normal for beginners — here are 12 tools to help with recovery and relieve discomfort

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an athlete working out in an outdoor gym with a kettlebell, plyo box, and rower
  • Muscle soreness after a workout, no matter the intensity, is something almost everyone experiences at some point.
  • Despite the discomfort, it's totally normal to feel sore, especially if you're starting a new routine.
  • Below, we've rounded up a few methods for relieving sore muscles, as well as the best tools and products that can help.

Feeling sore after starting a new workout routine is both normal and inevitable — especially for beginners. But fret not, that discomfort you feel is all part of the process and means your body is getting used to being used in a new way

"If you are a 'beginner' in fitness, resistance training, or high-intensity exercise, then DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is more likely," said personal, Laura Hoggins, to Insider reporter, Rachel Hosie.

It's also worth pointing out that soreness is not a barometer for how effective a workout is. In other words, don't be discouraged if you aren't experiencing any post-workout DOMS. Just because you're muscles aren't sore doesn't mean you aren't making progress — and ramping up your workout in search of that soreness can do more harm than good. 

That's why it's vital to take recovery and rest just as seriously as you do your workouts, no matter if you're just starting out a new routine or you're a seasoned fitness pro. Not only does this help avoid injury but it's also an essential part of getting fit. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of accessible methods for beginners to relieve muscle pain and foster recovery and rest. From at-home personal massagers and foam rollers to compression sleeves and just run-of-the-mill stretching, how you recover and rehab after a workout is as important as the workout itself.

Below are all the tools and tips you need to manage muscle soreness, as well as insight into when you're pushing yourself too far and how to embrace active recovery

What should I do about feeling sore?
How to Start a New Workout Plan 2

If you're wondering… should I be this sore?

If you feel sore — even really sore — after your workout, that's totally normal. It's technically called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and sets in 24 to 48 hours after your workout. How sore you feel depends on how hard you went as well as what kind of workouts you were doing. 

"You may be able to do some workouts where the soreness level is lower, but even experienced exercisers will have soreness from time to time," Boyd said. "It's your body's natural way of telling you that you did something and it's part of the natural recovery process for damaged muscles."

Generally, it's okay to exercise when you're feeling sore, but avoid working those same muscles that are feeling it most and don't go at the same intensity that caused the soreness in the first place. For example, if your arms and back feel sore from a strength workout, you might go for a run instead. 

Even more important: "A heightened level of soreness over a long period of time can lead to burnout, poor performance, and overtraining," Boyd said.

So, it's crucial to take recovery days to allow soreness to subside.

Is being sore a sign of something bad?
stretching static stretch yoga cobra pose

You should be sore in the areas you know you worked out, Higgins said. That means if you did heavy squats or deadlifts, expect soreness in the quads, glutes, or hamstrings. 

"If you start to feel joint pain or bony pain, that may signal that something wasn't quite right," he explained. "Maybe that was poor form, too many reps, or too much weight."

DOMS should also subside about 72 hours after training. If it lasts longer than that, you might have overdone it.  

It's key to choose a program that's appropriate for your fitness level to avoid that overly sore feeling, Higgins said. "We don't want an individual who's getting into strength and conditioning to push themselves so much that they can't get back to the gym."

Don't go too hard too quick and instead, stick with a workout you can maintain. Then have a plan to progress it.

And even though it's unlikely, if you're going hard and regularly sore, you need to know to avoid rhabdomyolysis, which is when your muscle breaks down to the point of being a medical emergency, Higgins said. With this, you'll also experience urination for a prolonged period of time or dark-colored urine. If that occurs, see a doctor immediately. 

The tools you need to help with post-workout soreness
Image of a person using the Theragun Mini best gifts for dad

When you inevitably get sore from your workouts, follow these strategies to help you deal (these are perfect choices for active rest days, too):

1. Do light cardio

A stationary bike offers a great way to get the body moving and the blood flowing. It offers a low-impact way to work the knees, hips, and ankles through their full range of motion, Higgins said.

The goal isn't really to get the heart rate up, but just to move the body and improve circulation. A 20- or 30-minute walk (at a pace you can chat with a friend) will do the trick, too. 

The NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle is a top-of-the-line stationary bike that offers fantastic features for at-home exercisers through iFit. The rotating 22-inch HD screen streams on-demand, trainer-led workouts that take place both in-studio and in stunning locales around the world.

The Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle exercise bike costs less than half the price of many similar bikes without notable loss of quality.
Originally $199.99 | Save 14%

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10 is the best do-everything running shoe and our favorite men's runner overall.
Originally $149.99 | Save 36%

The Brooks Ghost 13 shoes are durable enough for long runs, light enough for speedwork, and are even more responsive than the Ghost 10 thanks to a new sole unit. 

2. Move through a mobility routine

Higgins defines mobility as how well an individual moves freely and efficiently. This includes having a good range of motion in your joints, control of that motion, and strength and endurance.

Almost every workout program offers mobility workouts, many of which feature active stretching. Like a light cardio session, a mobility workout helps get the blood flowing, Higgins said, which, in turn, helps ease soreness. 

Sweat with some incredible, knowledgeable trainers, who lead you through intense workouts on the Nike Training app.

Peloton's Digital Membership app offers a wide variety of live and pre-recorded fitness classes, including yoga, running, strength training, and much more.

Made from a blend of cotton and natural rubber sap, Rumi Earth's Sun Yoga Mat is a sustainable mat from a minority-owned small business that provides adequate support for your joints — a great choice for newbies and seasoned pros alike.

3. Learn to love your foam roller

Before your workout, foam rolling, stretching, and doing an active warm-up reduces DOMS from the subsequent sweat session, reports a 2020 systematic review out of South Africa. You can also foam roll after your workout and on rest days to help blood flow through your muscles and shuttle fresh nutrients to repair them.

Note: Rolling on sore muscles can definitely feel a little uncomfortable but it shouldn't be above a 4 out of 10, Higgins said. If it's too painful, look for a softer roller. "You want a positive experience because that leads to consistency," Higgins adds. 

The TB12 Vibrating Pliability Roller is an excellent recovery and prep tool for anyone who keeps active. The roller features four different vibration settings and a contoured design to target specific muscles.

The LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller is an affordable and simple tool that gives your muscles relief and can help when you work out.
Originally $29.95 | Save 70%
Originally $19.95 | Save 35%

The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is the smart choice when you want to massage your knots or trigger points with several different surfaces.
Originally $39.99 | Save 24%
Originally $39.97 | Save 24%

4. Try a percussion massage gun

Massage guns give you the same effect as foam rolling (namely, getting more blood to your muscles) and can take away some of the sting of a deep massage thanks to their high vibrations. Massage guns also tend to be easier to use since you don't have to get on the floor.

They feature different levels of intensity and various attachments, which allows for a customizable experience, Higgins says. 

The Theragun Pro is our top pick: a powerful, customizable, and durable massager that's worth every bit of its $600 price tag.
Originally $599.00 | Save 25%
Originally $599.99 | Save 25%

Therabody's fourth generation of massage guns introduced the Theragun Mini, a portable device that packs a percussive punch in a much smaller package.

This upgrade to our pick for the best low volume massage gun, is currently $100 off at Best Buy. It's more powerful than the model we recommend.
Originally $399.99 | Save 25%
Originally $399.00 | Save 25%
Originally $329.00 | Save 9%

5. Wear compression boots

If you're willing to splurge a little, Higgins suggests NormaTec Compression Boots, which are basically air massagers for your legs. These boots zip up and provide compression that increases and decreases throughout however long you choose to wear them.

They do an excellent job of promoting blood flow and oxygen for your muscles and can help with lymphatic drainage, Higgins said. Plus, they just feel good. Many physical therapy centers and some fitness studios have access to these boots in which you pay per session. 

Relieve sore muscles after hard workouts with this NormaTec PULSE 2.0 leg recovery system. This device is pricey, but if you work hard regularly, the reduction in soreness (and, therefore, fast-track to your next workout) pays back ten-fold.
Originally $1295.00 | Save 23%

Read the original article on Insider

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