How to Soothe Sore Muscles

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I took the 30 minute Jillian Michaels workout at Crunch about a year ago and it really kicked my butt. I gave it my all even though at that time I wasn’t working out regularly. I figured I would be sore, take an Epsom salt bath, maybe rub some Tiger Balm on my legs and go about my week feeling motivated to keep-up the tough workout regimen. Man, I regretted that. I was so sore the next five days I had to take Flexeril and couldn’t walk up or down the stairs of my third floor apartment without wincing in pain. I’ve been sore before but this incident made me a bit wary of rushing back into classes at the gym.

DOMs, or delayed onset muscle soreness, can occur 24 to 48 hours after a tough workout. Often, I feel sore the second day after a tough workout. I do enjoy the feeling of being slightly sore the next day or two after a good workout. That type of soreness lets me know I pushed it just the right amount. Now that I’m working out regularly and doing yoga almost daily, I’m in-touch with my body again, which helps me learn my current limitations and push those just a bit. But there are still times I get sore.

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Recently, I joined a couple of running groups in San Francisco. Gin Villanueva hosts one of the free running groups I joined. I met Gin in yoga class and I learned she hosted these group runs. After our first run, Gin showed me The Sprinter Stick (pictured above). This massaging tool helps work-out knots and prevent soreness — it’s great for runners! I LOVE this tool, especially since I get extremely tight in my calves and the shape of this stick works perfectly to massage that area.

When using the stick, Gin explained, that you should apply just enough pressure to make yourself wince. Move the stick along your muscles with some pressure that feels right to you. Do this for about 5-10 minutes.

My calves are always tight and after a good long run, I notice using this stick makes my calves feel very relieved. You can purchase the stick for $35 on

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I can’t believe I ever worked out without a foam roller. Most gyms have these in the stretching area, but I recommend buying one for home use. If I have a knot, I just keep rolling over it, or even sit on it to loosen spots where I’m sore (thanks, Gin, for showing me this!).

Epsom salt baths help to restore the magnesium and sulfate in your body. Add some organic essential oil for an extra-relaxing soak.

Go for a walk: Be easy on your muscles when they’re sore, but warming them up with a long walk (you’ll break a sweat in SF with all the hills) and rolling them out with a foam roller is a great way to relieve soreness and tension.  

Ice: A warm bath will feel great at first, but if you’re really sore, or have an injury, you’ll want to ice your muscles. Always put a cloth between the ice pack and your skin so you don’t damage your skin. Olympic athletes are known to take a quick ice bath — just dip into a bathtub with some ice for less than 5 minutes to reduce inflammation. (Hopefully, you won’t need to do this — this is if you’re very sore!)

Tiger balm: This natural balm numbs and warms your sore muscles. This was the first thing I ever tried for sore muscles and I still rely on it after a strenuous gym session. I apply this after an Epsom salts bath and put on a pair of comfy sweats.


Potassium is an important mineral, especially if you workout because it prevents muscle spasms. Try eating foods like bananas or avocados. Or better yet, try both in this delicious cacao smoothie.


What do you do to relieve sore muscles? 

Top image courtesy of John (Sheba_Also) via Flickr. Other images taken by Kate Freeman. 

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