Ouch ouch baby: How to soothe those sore muscles after a hard day at the gym
Ouch ouch baby: How to soothe those sore muscles after a hard day at the gym

For anyone who has ever done any exercise at any point in their life, it’s more likely than not that they have had an ache that can’t escape.

These past few weeks have seen this issue occur many times for this particular writer, with what one would consider a good, or even typical, workout to end up being a view of the inevitable pain of death.

Sure, this may be a dramatic view, but soreness, when not properly prevented or fixed immediately after, can be incredibly painful. So, how do we keep working to improve our bodies with exercise when simply moving around the house can feel like a marathon?

Luckily, there are many helpful hints as to how to prevent and treat these aches and pains. Check the list below for how to get your body back into fighting shape before you enter the boxing ring—aka, the gymnasium.

If your quads are sore…use the R.I.C.E. method

Quadriceps are super important to the function of your legs. Without these four muscles at the front of your thighs, you would not be able to bend your knees when you walk—and really, who wants to look like a Sims character?

Squats, leg presses, and leg extensions help your quadriceps to be the best muscle group it can be. Unfortunately, there are oftentimes instances in which you overextend your quadriceps, such as when you walk too long up a hill, spend a lot of your day walking up stairs, or waste away at the elliptical.

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If you don’t properly stretch out after these exercises, it’s incredibly likely that you will be in massive amounts of pain for hours or even days afterwards. So, what are you to do?

When attaining a quadriceps strain, one of the best remedies is to use the R.I.C.E. method. No, this doesn’t mean you’re allowed to go to your local dim sum happy hour and pig out—instead, you should rest, ice, compress and elevate your leg/legs. The Sports Injury Clinic website strongly recommends that you apply ice to your injury every hour for 10 to 15 minutes following the strain.

The R.I.C.E. method should be applied for the first 24 hours after your strain. Following that, test yourself with light training to see how or if you’ve improved. If not, continue to rest.

If your calves are sore…rest.

Much like the quadriceps, the calf requires similar methods by which to help you relieve your strain. The calf, which is in the lower leg, under the knee joint, is formed by two other muscles: (1) the two-headed gastrocnemius, which means the “stomach of the leg,” and runs just above the knee to the heel, and (2) the soleus, which is involved in standing and walking.

Again, you really don’t want to be a Sims character when your calf becomes sore, right?

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So, when your calf or calves become sore—perhaps from the exercises listed above, or perhaps because you went ham on some calf raises before doing box jumps—you can (a) follow the R.I.C.E. method, (b) use some antibiotics, and/or (c) really, really rest. Personally, using antibiotics doesn’t necessarily help if you’re having a huge, unbearable ache, but all three of these remedies/methods should help you get back to fighting shape in no time.

Remember: a calf muscle may spasm if torn, so don’t overwork yourself if you are feeling pain. Don’t have this be you.

If your feet are sore…soak ’em in the tub.

This writer’s mother always recommended becoming a podiatrist when she grew up, largely due to how many women wear high heels almost constantly, only to have bunions later on in life. While looking at and touching feet 40+ hours per week would be this writer’s personal hell, it is still imperative to maintain good foot health.

If you’re not into wearing high heels or running 10+ miles per day, is there still a chance you could have achy (but hopefully not breaky) feet? Why yes, yes there is. Foot pain can come from many different sources aside from stilettos, including: poor posture, running, or simply crap shoes with no arch support.

How exactly are you supposed to treat all of these abnormalities?

There are many, many options—some of which are listed here, others here, and here—to help treat your achy feet, but one of the most relaxing treatments (or perhaps simply a distraction) is soaking your feetsies in the tub. Hell, take a bath and get a class of Chianti and your favorite book and relaxxxx. After a hard (and really stupid) week of wearing heels everywhere or running ’til your feet bleed, you need some relaxing time.

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If your abdominals are sore…stretch it out.

Regardless of whether you have a six- or eight-pack, you still have abs. Everyone has abdominal muscles; it’s just when we try to work ’em out that they become sore and eventually come to fruition.

Now, you may not look like The Rock (so sorry for the disappointment), but you still have to make sure that your body is in its peak condition. So, if you’re incredibly sore after a H.I.I.T. class or doing a ton of crunches, what can you do? Simple: stretch.

Right, your daily crunches/sit-ups are stretches within themselves, but what about doing some yoga poses? Yoga is awesome within itself (even if it can often be discredited by people who feel they know better), but taking just basic moves from a yogi can help you out. Try a cobra or downward dog or even child’s pose; you’ll stretch out more than just your abs, and help your body relax in the process.

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