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4/28 What To Do About Sore Muscles

Posted on April 28, 2010 at 10:18 AM

In honor of the Pittsburgh Marathon (it’s this Sunday) I’m going to dedicate the next few blogs to treating over-used and abused muscles. I admit, this is slightly self-serving, as I’ll need to know how to take care of my own Marathon Man, but these tips can be useful for all muscle strain, not just the running-induced kind.

Today, I’m going to give you the basics:

1. Always warm your muscles up before any extensive exercise. Do this by walking for 10 minutes, then do a series of stretches appropriate for the exercise you’ll be doing. Here is an article that lists a series of appropriate runner’s stretches.

2. Keep Muscles warm. If it’s cold on race day, layer up. Keeping muscles warm will prevent cramping.

3. Take a cold shower as soon as possible after the Marathon (or a strenuous workout). This will help prevent muscle stiffness and soreness.

4. Take anti-inflammatory medicine. Aspirin or Ibuprofen will reduce inflammation and pain. Take them as directed on the label (usually 1-2 pills every 4-6 hours). Don’t wait to take it because it says “as needed”…Trust me, you need it! You just ran 26 miles!

If you’re not a pill-taking kind of person, you can purchase a salicylate cream at any drug store. Salicylate is the active ingredient in aspirin, and should not irritate the skin.

5. Although heat feels great at the time, try to avoid it, as it will increase inflammation and pain in the long run. Heat increases blood flow and dilates blood vessels, therefore increasing the swelling. Heat should be especially avoided in the first 24-hour period after the race. Instead, try ice packs for 20-minutes per hour, every hour for the first 24-72 hour period. This will constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation.

6. Although the last thing you’ll want to do it move, it’s really the best thing for you. Swimming is a great sore-muscle remedy. The cold water reduces inflammation, and the movement stretches muscles.

7. Gentle Massage can help ease sore muscles. Make an appointment with Jaclyn at Salon Vivace in Mt. Lebanon 412-344-9707. Be sure to tell your massage therapist that you have sore muscles, what strenuous activity you have done, and where it hurts in order to assure that you get the most effective massage. Here is a list of self massage techniques for runners:

I hope this helps, and don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for more post-run remedies and techniques!

Send your beauty questions to [email protected] and I’ll answer them in my next blog.



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