So you have just gotten back into the swing of things, and have managed to do a great exercise session. Congrats! During and after the session, you feel great…the next day? Not so much.
We have all been there!
That stiffness, soreness and aching on the day or two after doing some exercise (or perhaps even just after doing some housework or renovations) can be pretty uncomfortable. For those with Osteoarthritis, or even Rheumatoid Arthritis, we understand that this discomfort can create some concern and perhaps make you question whether exercise is even a good thing to do. Understandably, this delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) tends to put people off doing more exercise, or it may even discourage them from continuing with their exercise routine altogether. When sore, we absolutely understand that the logical thing to come to mind might be to just rest, but there are some alternative ways to get your body on the road to recovery, and keep that exercise momentum going.
Let's work through them!
This is one of the favourites in the clinic (staff and clients). Foam rolling can have a number of benefits, and can be used as a way to aid in recovery. We advise using a foam roller on the areas you have exercised (and/or that are sore) on the day you have exercised, and on the following day. Foam rolling is reported to have the following benefits:
- Reduced muscle soreness and joint stiffness
- Improved range of motion
- Improved bloodflow to the area (which assists recovery)
- Improved muscle activation
Spikey ball/trigger point ball
We all have those areas that always seem to get sore and tight. Exercise and activity requires the muscles to work hard, and sometimes muscles will tighten up after they have been used- resulting in stiffness, and tightness. A fantastic way to get around this so you can feel a lot better and move better, is by using a spikey ball or a trigger point ball to get rid of some of that tightness. A spikey ball is the perfect size to throw in your bag, so you can carry it anywhere. If you find that you are sore in a particular spot, or feel tight, you can use the ball to release the tension, and to help you to move more freely in that area (plus you feel a lot better). Try this after you exercise, and the following day, but feel free to carry it in your handbag as an ongoing thing for relief at any time!
This method can be used right after you finish your exercise, or the following day or days. Essentially, the way it is thought to work, is it increases the bloodflow in the body, and has an effect on the way the vessels in the body act. This will have positive effects on the way the muscles recover. You can do this in many ways, however the simplest way I have found, is to do 1 minute of water as hot as you can handle, followed by 1 minute of water as cold as you can handle. Repeat this 3-5 times, and then hop out of the shower.
Feeling stiff and sore and tired may make you less inclined to carry on with your normal exercise routine, but it is super super important to keep the blood flowing and the joints moving in order to recover well.
Swimming is an absolutely fabulous way to keep moving, whilst reducing the pressure on the joints. The cold water and the pressure from the water also helps with circulation and blood flow in the muscles, and the buoyancy of the water can help you to feel more free in the muscles- making movement easier. This is also why pool exercises are a great alternative for those with joint conditions, such as Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
If swimming laps isn’t your thing, walking in the water or doing some dynamic stretches or exercises (e.g. squats or lunges) is a great way to keep moving and get the blood flowing to aid in recovery. Plus it’s a great way to cool down in the summer heat!
If you can’t get to the pool, find ways you can keep moving (like stretching or a gentler form of exercise). If you stop moving, the muscles and joints will stiffen up, the bloodflow won’t increase and help to heal the muscles, and you won’t recover as quickly.
As you may have heard, consistency is the key to getting all of the health benefits that exercise has to offer. Hopefully these tips can help you recover better, which will keep you active and consistent with your exercise!