Maybe you spent too much time at the gym last night, ran too many miles or were stuck in a meeting for hours. Whatever the cause, you may find that your muscles are sore and stiff when you get up the next morning. While this is a natural outcome of strenuous activity or tension, it can be annoying and quite painful. You'll want to find a quick, effective remedy right away to reduce the pain and speed up the recovery process. Fortunately, you can relieve this pain yourself naturally and effectively in as little as one day!


Sore muscles need a lot of water to rejuvenate and recover from strenuous exercise. Always try to drink plenty of water before, during and after any physical activity that might cause sore muscles. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol when your muscles are sore. Even if an iced latte sounds especially appealing after a long run in the sun, both caffeine and alcohol have dehydrating effects. This will lead to loss of fluids, making it even more difficult for your muscles to recover.


Get a Good Stretch

Stretching after exercise and when your muscles are sore is extremely important. When you work out, your muscles tighten up, and they maintain that tightness the next day when you are feeling sore. Stretching will help the muscle fibers to loosen up and relax, bringing almost instantaneous relief. Avoid stretching to the point of pain, and don't bounce during the stretch. It is better to hold the pose at the point where you feel a gentle stretch. Stretch each affected area slowly and gently to restore mobility, ease spasms and reduce pain.


Take Over-the-Counter Medications

When your muscles are sore, you want to get relief as quickly as possible, and over-the-counter pain relievers can provide that relief. While most people choose non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), these medications aren't as helpful as you might think. NSAIDs actually inhibit the production of muscle-healing prostaglandins and slow the process of muscle recovery. The best option is to choose a pain reliever that contains acetaminophen to gain temporary pain relief without interfering with your body's ability to heal itself.


Apply Heat

Heat will help to loosen up tight, strained muscles. Prepare a hot, relaxing bath, or take a long shower, letting the hot water do its work. If you don't have time for a bath, try using a heating pad instead. Some heating pads have both moist and dry settings to suit your preference. Many people find the moist setting to be most effective at easing sore muscles. There are also adhesive heating pads, letting you apply the patch to your skin under your clothes so that you can continue to get relief as you go about your day.


Get a Good Massage

Massage helps to increase blood flow to sore muscles and speeds up the recovery process. To get the greatest benefit, schedule an appointment with a professional masseuse who specializes in sports injuries. A day spa can also provide skilled, qualified massage therapists. If you would prefer not to pay for a professional, invite a friend or loved one to gently massage hard-to-reach muscles, or massage your aching muscles yourself.


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