Here’s a truth that you seldom see mentioned: recovery is a crucial part of your workouts

That’s because a challenging workout actually causes your muscles to incur slight tears. During the recovery period, they grow back stronger, increasing your overall strength through the healing process. 

If you’re looking for ways to help your muscles bounce back faster, so that you can get back to doing what you love, keep reading! We’re going to discuss five essential tools and tips for alleviating muscle pain, so you can shorten your time away from the gym, soccer field, or wherever you like to exercise.

Tip #1: Mend with Massage

If you’re anything like most people, you love a good massage. But massages can also be a vital recovery tool, and we’re not just saying that (scout’s honor!) 

Massages relieve muscle pain by increasing circulation to the affected areas. More blood flow results in reduced tension and faster healing.

A professional massage from a licensed sports therapist will work best, but if you have a kind partner, consider asking them to give you a hand (literally). In a pinch, you could roll a new tennis ball over tight muscles or use a trigger point massage ball. 

Tip #2: Cool It Down

Not only does ice have the power to reduce swelling, it also dulls pain. A fantastic option if you’re trying to stay away from over-the-counter pain relievers, ice can be applied to your sore muscles in a number of ways, such as:

  • Cold showers or ice baths, which sting but produce real results
  • Cryotherapy, a high-tech treatment that’s often used by professional athletes
  • Good old-fashioned ice packs, just like Mom used to make
  • Cold therapy sleeves, which are the 21st century version of the ice pack

Tip #3: Apply Compression

Like massage, compression is thought to increase circulation by improving your blood flow. Even better, compression can also relieve swelling.

A common way to apply compression to your aching muscles is to wear compression garments. These include tights, shorts, and even shirts. 

Popular Science recommends wearing full-length compression tights or knee-length compression socks, rather than compression shorts. They also say that it’s better to wear compression clothing after your workout than during it. 

Tip #4: Get Sleepy

Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended for adults every night, although few Americans actually sleep that full amount. That’s a shame, as sleep can be an incredible recovery tool

While you sleep, every part of your body, including your muscles, goes into repair mode. So, if you haven’t been taking sleep seriously, let your new training regimen be your motivation!

If health issues have been preventing you from savoring a full night’s rest, rest assured that you likely have a number of options for dealing with them. 

For instance, if you have chronic shoulder irritation, you could purchase a pillow for shoulder pain. These pillows offer your shoulders the support they need, allowing you to sleep more peacefully. Pillows that alleviate other sleep-interrupting issues such as GERD and lower back pain are also widely available. 

Tip #5: Roll Out Your Aches and Pains

Finally, no article about recovery tools would be complete without a mention of fitness rollers

The foam ones work quite well, but several fitness companies offer roller options that have a few more bells and whistles. These include:

  • Bendable metal rollers
  • “Smart” foam rollers
  • Massaging fitness rollers
  • Vibrating fitness rollers

Whichever roller you choose, it should help loosen up your fascia and improve the range of motion around your joints. That’s what makes them such an essential gym staple. 

No Matter What Age You Are, You Can Bounce Back Faster

Whether you’re a high school athlete or a seasoned weekend warrior, you have the ability to ease muscle aches with the aid of recovery tools. 

Don’t resign yourself to sore muscles as if it’s “just part of getting older.” It truly doesn’t have to be. Instead of sighing and reaching for your muscle balm, jump into a cold shower, lie on a fitness roller, or alter your bedding arrangements. 

A strong, relaxed body is entirely within your reach.