Whether you worked extra hard at the gym or you've been doing heavy yard work around your home, tired, sore muscles can plague your body, especially in the days following the work. Tired muscles are typically the result of general overuse.
When you use your muscles, lactic acid builds up around them, essentially choking out any oxygen and resulting in fatigue. The next day, you have muscle fatigue in your legs, soreness and they tend to tire more quickly. Soothe tired muscles by taking time to rest and repair, while addressing any aches or pain.
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Protein as a Fixative
Consume protein after your strenuous workout. Protein acts quickly to help repair microscopic tears in the muscle tissue and to build new muscle, making it ideal as an after-workout snack. If you've exercised and exerted your body and you know your muscles will feel sore and tired the next day, consume a protein bar or drink a protein shake to help counteract the effects of the workout.
Read more: What Causes Muscular Fatigue?
Muscle Fatigue Recovery
Rest in the 24 hours following muscle exertion. Your body needs time to recover from the exertion and continuing to overwork the tired muscle can result in quicker fatigue and even pain. Delayed onset muscles soreness, or DOMS, can show up 12 hours after exercise and may not peak until 48 to 72 hours after exercising according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Since you're not injured, complete rest isn't necessary. Instead, performing less physically demanding tasks and exercise is best, such as walking or swimming.
Apply Soothing Heat
Apply heat to the tired muscles. Cold is usually used to help reduce swelling when you've sustained a sprain or tear, but if your only complaint is tired muscles, heat helps to soothe the pain and soften tightness. A heating pad, heat sock or a warm bath can help soothe tired muscles so they feel less achy and tight in the days following strenuous exercise. If there appears to be any inflammation, the American College of Sports Medicine suggest applying ice to the affected muscle. Apply the ice pack three or four times a day for twenty minutes at a time advises the University of Michigan.
Read more: How to Recover From Muscle Fatigue After Exercise
Get a Massage
Ask a loved one for a massage or schedule one with a professional. Getting a massage helps to loosen tense muscles, which can contribute to an overall sense of weak and tired muscles. Tell the masseuse which muscles are the most tired and the type of exercise you did prior to the condition and she'll be able to target those muscles to help them feel relaxed. Self-myofascial release can also be used on sore, tired muscles using a foam roller says ACE Fitness.
Apply a Topical Cream
Apply a cream containing methyl salicylate to help relax and energize muscles says the American College of Cardiology. Methyl salicylate is a topical analgesic often found in arthritis and muscle rubs. It creates an intense warming sensation on the skin that helps to relax tired muscles. Just keep the cream out of reach of children, since it's highly toxic and meant for topical use only.
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "Sore Muscles from Exercise"
- American College of Sports Medicine: "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)"
- University of Michigan: "Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE)"
- ACE Fitness: "How to Alleviate Muscle and Joint Pain With Self-myofascial Release (Part 1)"
- American College of Cardiology: "Methyl Salicylate Topical"