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4 Ways to Avoid Sore Muscles

It’s not uncommon to feel aches and pains after a heavy workout or strenuous physical activity-but it’s not inevitable, either! Here are our best tips on how to avoid sore muscles.

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How to Avoid Sore Muscles

Sore muscles are often the result of pushing your body too hard, too fast. Once you’ve injured yourself, it’s up to your body to heal over time-and up to you not to push it too far while it does. Whether you’re hoping to avoid next day aches or are headed back to the gym after healing from an injury, you’ll want to check out our tips on how to avoid sore muscles and reduce the risk of re-injury.

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1. Load up on antioxidants.

Several studies find that taking antioxidants-especially vitamin C-for 2 weeks before beginning a new exercise program or subjecting your muscles to unusual strain (think: beginning a sports season, moving, going on a trip that will involve lots of physical activity) can minimize muscle soreness and help maintain muscle function. Take a combined product containing 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, less than 400 IU of vitamin E and at least 5,000 IU of beta-carotene.

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2. Start slowly.

You wouldn’t run a marathon without training first, so why would you spread a truckload of mulch after sitting on the couch all winter? Get your body accustomed to physical activity before taking on a big project or workout regimen. That means, when the snow melts and you’re ready to get back on your bicycle, do it for a bit at a time. The same goes for turning over the garden or reorganizing the garage.

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3. Warm up before you begin.

Some light stretching and walking enhances blood flow to your muscles and stretches them, reducing the risk of injury. Stretching is helpful even if you’re not about to engage in an activity you think of as athletic. For example: you might be used to stretching before a tennis game, but it is also beneficial to stretch before moving heavy furniture.

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4. Mix up your workouts.

If you’re doing weight or resistance training, don’t work the same muscle groups every day. Write down what your daily workout consists of, ideally in advance, but afterwards is good, too-then you can make sure you’re alternating muscle groups.

Related features:
10 Ways to Heal Sore Muscles
6 Ways to Avoid Muscle Cramping
5 Things to End Muscle Pain