Muscle Soreness Recovery with Contrast Showers

Published: 07th July 2008
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Whether it's from lifting weights, running, or playing a game of tennis, muscle soreness can result from making your muscles work in ways they are not used to. This is an unfortunate side effect, as it can limit your future physical activity.

The cause of muscle soreness is not entirely understood yet, but we know it is a result of damage to your muscles. It is not the damage itself that makes you sore though. Muscle soreness is a side effect of the inflammation response in your body that is used to repair the damaged muscles. This is why you don't usually get sore until 12-36 after your workout. This is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

Ok, enough about why you feel sore. So how do you get rid of it?

Of course, the best method is to simply rest and let the muscles repair themselves. But this takes time and is not always the most comfortable while you are waiting, especially if you have additional activities planned.

Fortunately, there are some ways to accelerate the natural healing process without resorting to harmful painkillers. Today we are going to look at one such method known as a contrast shower.

You may have already guessed from the name that contrast showers are simply alternating hot and cold water on your sore muscles. This alternation of hot and cold causes a pumping effect in your muscles that promotes blood flow which helps to flush-out the soreness.

To properly perform a contrast shower you want to do 30 seconds of hot water followed by 30 seconds of cold water. Continue this for a total of 5-10 minutes. To get the greatest effect you need to make sure that the water is as hot and as cold as possible (without burning or freezing yourself). This creates a much stronger pumping action in the muscle.

Keep in mind that contrast showers aren't the most pleasant experience, but as a side benefit you will feel very invigorated afterwards!

As an alternative, you can also use contrast baths. This requires two bathtubs close by each other, something that most of us don't have the luxury of. But if you can make this work you will find it to be even more effective for muscle soreness relief.

Remember that contrast showers and baths only help to accelerate the natural recovery process, so they will not get rid of your soreness entirely. You should also remember that there is no substitute for a properly designed training and nutrition program to increase your progress and manage muscle soreness.

Get the latest scientific muscle recovery information, including information on how to relieve muscle soreness and a FREEmuscle growth report on "The 13 Reasons You Suck at Gaining Muscle."

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