Healthy Lifestyle

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How to prevent muscle soreness

Daily exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. When paired with a nutritious diet, daily exercise can help men and women maintain their personal health and put them in a better position to battle many of the physical quirks that come with aging.

But even the most ardent exercise enthusiast is periodically confronted with muscle soreness, which can interrupt an exercise routine and have a very negative impact on an individual's quality of life. Muscle soreness often appears the morning after a workout and can make something as simple as getting out of bed feel as difficult as climbing Mount Everest. The frequency and severity of muscle soreness depends on a host of factors, including how old someone is, how often a person exercises and how well that person performs certain exercises. While muscle soreness may seem like another unfortunate side effect of the aging process, there are ways to prevent such soreness.

* Stay hydrated. Many people forget to drink water when working out, and such forgetfulness can lead to muscle soreness. Roughly 50 to 60 percent of a person's total body mass is water, but the body loses a lot of water during exercise, especially when that exercise is vigorous and causes lots of sweating. Losing a substantial amount of water can be debilitating and lead to muscle soreness, as muscle cells need water to recover fully from a workout. So it's important that men and women stay hydrated both during a workout and throughout the rest of the day. Carry a bottle of water with you when working out. You will be more inclined to drink water and stay hydrated during a workout if you have water with you as opposed to relying on repeated trips to the water fountain. One way to determine if you're drinking enough water during a workout is to make note of the color of your urine in the hours following the workout. If your urine is light yellow or clear, then you're probably drinking enough water to stay hydrated during and after the workout. If your urine is dark yellow or has an orange tint, then you need to make a stronger effort to stay hydrated during and after your workout.

* Get some sleep. Sleep is another way to prevent or reduce the likelihood of developing muscle soreness. The body needs time to recover from exercise, and sleep is an integral part of that recovery process. Adults typically need between seven and eight hours of sleep per night, so be sure to get enough rest so your muscles can recover before your next workout. Muscle soreness may be your body telling you it was not given enough time to fully recover from a previous workout.

* Cool down after a workout. If weight training is part of your workout routine, then it helps to cool down with some easy cardiovascular activity and light stretching after the weight training portion of your regimen is over. This can improve blood flow throughout your body, and improved blood flow can speed your recovery time and reduce post-workout muscle soreness by bringing fresh oxygen and healing nutrients to the parts of your body that may feel sore after a workout.

* Don't fight fire with exercise. Some people are tempted to fight muscle soreness by putting their muscles back to work. But such an approach can lead to injury. When muscles are sore, they also experience a loss of strength, which makes them more susceptible to damage and injury. Rather than fighting muscle soreness by challenging the muscles, give them a rest as they recover from soreness and fatigue.Work muscle groups that are not experiencing soreness or avoid weight training in favor of cardiovascular exercise and stretching.

For many men and women, muscle soreness is an unfortunate side effect of any active lifestyle. But such active men and women can take various preventive measures to reduce their likelihood of developing sore muscles after workouts.