We all know the feeling, 6-8 hours after a hefty workout, or the first workout in a while, your muscles start to ache and tighten up. Every movement you do reminds you of every mile you ran or weight you lifted.
It’s a common myth that muscle soreness is a build-up of lactic acid; it’s really a build-up of broken-down cells that leads to localized inflammation and edema.
Generally peaking at about 48 hours after exercise, delayed onset muscle soreness can stop you in your tracks. Some see this as a badge of honor, but too much time spent with muscle soreness can impact your ability to get the most of your workouts.
In a recent study published in an issue of Science Translational Medicine, massage was found to reduce the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. They also found that massage also went as far as stimulating mitochondria, the powerhouses inside every cell that convert glucose into energy, essential for the repair and function of a cell. Essentially, massage reduces the pathways responsible for inflammation, and helps the muscles adapt to high demands of output, thus increasing performance.
As an athlete myself, I’ve found that even foam rolling regularly can help my recovery time a ton. Happy stretching!