Muscle soreness is normal after physical activity, especially if you are starting out, doing something new or ramping up the intensity. The prime time to help reduce muscle soreness is within the first few hours after your workout. Take these 3 steps to reduce muscle soreness.

Stretch It Out

Stretching after a workout is your first line of defense in muscle recovery. Be sure to cooldown after exercise followed by five plus minutes of static stretching. During exercise, muscles are contracted, so stretching after helps lengthen the muscles, increasing flexibility and mobility. Aim to stretch every muscle group worked and hold each stretch for 15-60 seconds.

Foam rolling regularly can also help with muscle soreness, enhance static stretching, and improve exercise performance. Learn how to add foam rolling into your exercise routine.

Drink Up

Staying hydrated during and after a workout is key to helping muscles recover. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, general guidelines for hydrating include:

  • Hydrating during exercise:
    • Drink 3 - 8 oz. of water every 15 - 20 minutes if your duration is less than an hour
  • Hydrating after exercise:
    • Your goal is to replace any fluids lost
    • Drink 20 - 24 oz. of water for every 1 pound of body weight lost

Feel like you don’t drink enough water? Get tips for staying hydrated.


In order to fully reap the benefits of your hard work, eating within one hour post-exercise will replenish your energy reserves and jumpstart muscle recovery. Ideally your post-workout snack or meal includes complex carbohydrates (such as whole-grains, beans, fruits and vegetables) protein, and some healthy fats. A good rule of thumb is a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. Get ideas for what to eat post-exercise.


Bonus tip!

Keep moving. Movement throughout the day after your workout will keep blood flowing to the muscles. Go for a light walk, aim to stand up and move every hour, or do some foam rolling later in the day.

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