The 6 Best Ways to Soothe Sore Muscles After Working Out

You worked up a serious sweat in spin class yesterday and now you’re feeling the burn. Ouch. You can thank delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) for the reason why even walking up the stairs feels like pure agony. And while some DOMS is inevitable (after drastically increasing the intensity of your workout or hitting the gym hard after a long rest period, for example), there are ways to relieve the symptoms. Here, six ways to ease the pain and speed up your recovery.


woman eating bowl of greek yogurt

Eat And Drink Properly

Look, we’ve all gone to a Sunday morning boot-camp class and then rewarded ourselves by ordering pancakes, eggs and two mimosas at brunch. But if you want to help your body recover faster, personal trainer Lisa Reed recommends refueling soon after working out with a small amount of carbohydrates and protein. Here are six of the best foods and drinks to have after working out.

(Psst: What you eat before exercising matters, too. To ensure your body performs at its best, here are six snacks that the pros recommend fueling up on about an hour before your sweat sesh.)

woman using foam roller on legs for sore muscles

Try Foam Rolling

You don’t need to be an elite athlete to take advantage of foam rolling—in fact, all you need is $15 and a little know-how. By applying pressure on sore spots, foam rolling helps release tension and tightness in muscles after they’ve been overworked. Here’s how to use a foam roller for the best (read: most pain-relieving) results.

freezing cold cryotherapy temperatures for sore muscles

Stay Cool

Warning: This one’s not for the faint of heart. Whole body cryotherapy (WBC) is the cold treatment celebrities love (Jennifer Aniston, Daniel Craig and Jessica Alba, to name a few). With temperatures as low as -270 degrees Fahrenheit, proponents say that stepping into the chilly walk-in chamber for a few minutes will speed up recovery, reduce inflammation and boost circulation. But research on WBC is mixed. While one small German study found that athletes recovered faster (and performed better) with the cold treatment, a review of four previous studies concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to support using WBC for muscle soreness. The choice is yours. (Not interested in paying someone to feel the chill? You can get similar effects by stepping into an ice bath—here’s what one editor thought when she tried it.)

woman getting sports massage for sore muscles

Get A Rubdown

To tackle exercise-related aches and pains, opt for a sports massage that’s specifically designed for active individuals. (Just keep in mind that it might not feel quite as relaxing as a luxury spa rubdown, since sports massages are more targeted.)

woman working out jumping jump rope

Work Out Smart

If all you’re doing after a killer sweat sesh is hitting the showers and congratulating yourself on a job well done, then you’re not making the most out of your workout—and inviting those next-day aches. From not sleeping to bad stretching, here are the seven biggest post-workout mistakes to avoid, according to the experts.

woman choosing over the counter medication

Skip The Over-the-counter Medication

When you’re dealing with post-workout pain, it’s tempting to reach for the ibuprofen to relieve the soreness. And while over-the-counter NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen) can ease aches, research has shown that it could interfere with any muscle gain that would have come from that workout. (Here’s everything you need to know about OTC meds and post-workout muscle pain.)


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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...