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Experiencing sore muscles? By Cassandra K Haber


After spending all day on the slopes, you may start experiencing muscle soreness and stiffness a few days into your ski holiday. Your body maintains postures and uses muscles which you do not commonly use in other sporting activities you carry out back home. This muscle soreness may be considerable, especially if you have not been so diligent with your exercise routine in the last few months.


Muscle soreness, also referred to as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is the gradually increasing discomfort that occurs one to three days after physical activity which stresses the muscle tissue beyond its usual limits. The pain experienced is a result of an inflammatory response to microtears in the muscle tissue. Fluid accumulates in the muscles which applies pressure on the damaged tissue, causing a sensation of tightness.


Although damaged inflamed muscles may sound perturbing, it is a sign of muscle growth and repair. Placing stresses on your muscles result in adaptations which makes them stronger and thus improves performance next time you are on the slopes. Nonetheless, you want this soreness under control so you can get back to moving pain-free and enjoying the rest of your ski holiday.

There are no instant solutions since your muscles need time to heal, but here are some strategies you may use to ease the soreness and aid recovery!


Warm up

Warming up before exercise prepares your body for exercise by increasing blood flow to the muscles. A warm up should be dynamic, including movements you will carry out while you ski or snowboard, rather than passive stretches.


Wear compression socks

Compression socks reduce the amount of fluid which accumulates in the muscle and improve functional recovery.


Stay hydrated during and after you exercise

Hydration is an important aspect of muscle recovery. Water flushes out waste products of inflammation that accumulate in your muscles and delivers the nutrients to your muscles which are necessary for recovery.


Cool down

This is the best time to stretch since your muscles are warm and relaxed after exercise. Stretching prevents muscle soreness to develop into a muscle spasm.


Massage

A sports massage will help relax tight muscles and soothe muscle aches. A massage post-exercise promotes muscle recovery and prevents scar tissue from developing in the damaged tissue. Also, regular massages increase your body’s ability to fight off muscle soreness since massaged muscles contain more blood vessels than non-massaged muscles, which results in improved recovery.


Use a foam roller after exercise (self-myofascial release)

Foam rolling releases tension in the muscle and surrounding tissue. It helps move fluid which accumulates in muscle after exercise. Like massage, foam rolling increases blood flow to deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the affected muscles. This reduces muscle soreness and maintains muscle flexibility.


Eat within half an hour after exercise

You need protein to repair muscle damage and carbohydrates to replenish energy stores. It would be a good idea to keep a nutty cereal bar handy for when you are getting off the slopes.

Overall, make sure you follow a healthy balanced diet to provide your body with the required nutrients and vitamins to sustain physical activity and promote growth.


Ice or Heat?

A warm bath or use of a sauna/hot tub can help boost blood flow and relieve muscle tightness. However, if there is noticeable swelling, you should apply ice. This may be an indication that you sustained an injury and it is recommended that you see a physiotherapist.


Sleep

Muscle repair occurs as you sleep. Aim for seven hours of sleep to best prepare your body for another day on the mountain.


Avoid taking anti-inflammatory medication

Although such medication can ease pain associated with muscle soreness, it restricts the inflammatory process which is crucial to muscle repair and recovery.


Take it easy the next day

Recovering muscles need rest but this does not mean you should keep your ski gear locked up! Keep your body in motion as you want blood flowing to sore muscles to speed up recovery. However, do not expect to be at your peak performance when tackling the slopes if you are sore. Take it easy or you might end up with an injury!


It is important to distinguish between muscle soreness induced by exercise and muscle overuse or injury. Contact us if:

· Your muscle soreness lasts for more than four days.

· Your pain is unbearable and prevents you from moving.

· Your pain gets worse with exercise.

· You notice redness, swelling, warmth or bruising in the sore muscles.


If you would like anymore information or would like to book a physiotherapy appointment or massage please phone +33 750847724 or email info@actionsportivephysio.com

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