Tips for preventing sore muscles
Everyone has had sore muscles before. And since everyone knows the pain from their own experience, most have quick recommendations on how to alleviate the pain. But not all of the advice makes sense. Experts explain how to relieve sore muscles and how to prevent them.
Regular exercise is healthy
Sport is healthy. Regular training sessions can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure or heart attack. Sport also helps you lose weight and build up your fitness. However, after particularly intensive runs, strength training in the gym, an exhausting volleyball game or a long mountain hike, muscle pain often occurs. Health experts explain what can be done about sore muscles.
Not the result of acidification
In the past, it was often assumed that the pain in a muscle ache was the result of excessive acidity in the muscles, caused by lactates, i.e. lactic acids, which are released by the work of the muscle cells.
But as the HKK health insurance company explains on its website, this theory has long been refuted.
Because the organism quickly breaks down the lactate in the resting phase after sport. According to the experts, the half-life is about 20 minutes. Sore muscles do not appear until hours later - and, as is well known, usually last for several days.
Lactate levels have long since returned to normal.
In addition, if the theory were correct, sports with a typically very high lactate formation, for example in the 400-meter run, would have particularly strong muscle soreness. However, that is not the case.
In fact, according to the health insurance company, it has been shown in practice that muscle soreness occurs particularly often after strength training - and relatively little lactate is formed in the process.
How sore muscles develop
This theory has long since been rejected by sports doctors - they now assume that sore muscles develop when individual muscle fibers tear.
According to experts, this is a completely normal process. However, if the number of torn fibers is greater than normal, the body responds by triggering an inflammatory reaction to repair the broken parts.
This inflammation is painful for those affected.
Warming up and stretching are not preventive
Muscle soreness is always the result of overworking the muscles. If you want to protect yourself from unpleasant pain, the most effective way to do this is with a fitness plan that is appropriate to your own fitness, explains the HKK.
Untrained people should best start at a leisurely pace - and plan sufficient rest periods between training phases so that the body can get used to the stress and form enough new muscle cells.
The training intensity should be increased slowly.
The opinion that stretching before exercise can prevent sore muscles is now a thing of the past among experts. There are no scientific studies for this assumption.
The symptoms cannot be prevented by warming up either. However, it still makes sense, especially to increase mobility.
The body needs proteins
If you get caught, the HKK health insurance company has no choice but to accept the pain.
However, other experts believe that you can help the muscle a bit - with proteins that the body needs for the repair.
Sometimes it is recommended to eat protein two hours before the training session and one hour after exercising - one gram per kilogram of body weight.
Good sources of protein include milk and milk products.
Fat-free whey, which contains around two percent protein, is ideal. Fish, lean ham, eggs or almonds are also suitable alternatives.
Special powders or foods with extra protein are normally not necessary.
Some home remedies for sore muscles also have a good effect. For example, ointments or oils that contain substances that promote blood circulation or herbs have proven their worth.
Massages are unsuitable for relief, explains the HKK. The mechanical stimulus that is exerted can even intensify the cracks, which causes sore muscles to become more intense or last longer.
It is controversial to what extent warm baths help, but such a bath does no harm to the overloaded body. And even if it cannot conjure up the pain, it has at least a beneficial effect. (ad)