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3 Post-Exercise Tips to Ease Your Muscle Pain

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As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. While this sentiment may be true with regards to your workout regime, there's no reason that you should suffer through muscle aches, pains and cramps after you get back from the gym. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take after your sweat session that may relieve any physical pain you may be experiencing.

Be sure to keep these tips in mind next time you wind down after a workout.

1. Stretch After
You recognize the importance of stretching your muscles before a rigorous routine, but did you know that doing similar movements afterward is a great way to dull those aches and pains? Men's Fitness magazine recommended gentle stretching after a workout, as slow movements can help soothe muscles that have tightened after an intense routine. Look for stretches that target the specific areas that you used most during your workout, whether those be your legs, glutes or abs.

2. Apply Alternating Heat and Ice
Temperature can have a significant effect on your pain, especially for those spots that easily get super sore. It's important to have both ice packs and heating pads handy - alternating the two is a great way to soothe pain or cramps that may have followed your latest gym trip.

Steve Hays, a marathoner and high school cross-country coach, explained to The Washington Post that the varying temperatures are crucial for fostering blood flow through the muscles.

"Ice slows blood flow and heat has the opposite effect, increasing blood flow," Hays told the source. "The increase in blood flow helps to flush out the byproducts created by the workout, and the ice helps to reduce inflammation."

Start by placing an ice pack on the irritated area for about 10 to 15 minutes, then using a heating pad to soothe your muscles for about 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Consider Compression
Many fitness professionals recommend compression therapy after a rigorous workout, as the pressure created by this action may be able to quell certain aches or pains. Runners Connect reported that compression clothing - such as socks or stockings - may be useful in preventing blood clots and improving blood flow, as the pressure encourages the blood to flow more smoothly. The source noted that this kind of treatment can be effective against sore spots, though it should be alternated with other pain-relief tactics.