One of the byproducts of a great workout is muscle soreness. While people of all fitness levels may experience muscle soreness, beginners may experience it most often. Muscle soreness can occur 24 hours after a workout and can last anywhere from two to five days and is completely normal.
Muscle soreness will dissipate over time, but gentle stretches may help alleviate the discomfort as well. Here are the top stretches for muscle soreness:
All exercises should be done slowly and gently. A person's range of motion may be reduced, so the stretches should be adjusted accordingly.
- Stand and clasp hands behind you
- Extend arms downward towards the ground and slowly look up towards ceiling
- Hold for 10-15 seconds then release
Note: This stretch is effective for sore muscles as well.
1. Shoulder Stretch #1
- Hold a chair, bannister, or anything stable at waist level
- Standing at arms distance, slowly lean forward, keeping arms and back straight
- Hold at bottom for10-15 seconds then release
Note: Tucking the chin into the chest will stretch the back as well.
2. Shoulder Stretch #2
- Stand with both arms extended outward, parallel to the ground
- Slowly move arms in forward, circular motion with narrow, circles
- Gradually widen the circles
- Stop and reverse the circles, starting with narrow circles then wider circles
- Perform 10-20 repetitions
- Stand placing right arm on wall or door for support
- Raise left leg and grab ankle with left arm
- Slowly bring leg up, pulling ankle close to your body
- Hold for 5-10 seconds then repeat with right leg
Note: This exercise may not be suitable for those with knee problems. Consult with your physician before trying this exercise if you have knee pain or suffered a knee injury.
Hamstring Stretch #1
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart
- Slowly bend at hips and touch toes
- Hold for 10 seconds then release
Note: If range of motion is diminished, reach as far as you can comfortably. Do not overextend. Tucking the chin will stretch the lower back as well.
Hamstring Stretch # 2
- Lay on back with both legs extended
- Slowly raise left leg to vertical position with bottom of foot facing ceiling
- Clasp back of hamstring with both hands
- Keeping thigh in upright, bend at the knee then slowly raise again
- Perform 15 reps then lower leg to starting position
- Repeat with right leg
Note: Range of motion may be limited, so do not attempt to overstretch or overextend leg.
Hamstring Stretch #3
- Sit on floor legs comfortably apart
- With right knee bent, slowly reach forward towards left ankle
- Hold part of leg you can reach comfortably for 10 second
- Release and return to center
- Repeat on right leg
Note: Tucking chin into chest will stretch lower back as well. This exercise can be done with knee bent or both legs straight.
- Lean onto wall with arms fully extended
- Stand with right foot back, left leg bent
- Lean towards door while keeping heel of right leg on floor
- Hold for 15 seconds then release
- Repeat with left foot back
Muscle soreness is common after exercise. A combination of rest and light stretches will allow the body to recover and be ready for future exercise sessions.