Some people live for the burn after fitness classes, and others not so much. Whether you love the soreness that comes after a hard workout, or you want to know the quickest way to get rid of it, it can pay to keep this muscle soreness at bay from time to time. This muscle soreness is typically caused by micro-tears in muscle tissue when you push muscles beyond their regular limit or use them in new challenging ways, and you should begin to feel soreness around 12 to 24 hours post workout and experience the soreness for as much as a couple of days. However, sometimes this muscle soreness can be indicative of an injury, and muscle soreness that doesn’t let up should be investigated by a doctor to ensure further workouts won’t be harmful to any underlying damage.

Now that we know what muscle soreness is caused by and how long it lasts, how can we begin to lessen it? Sometimes, you simply don’t want to be sore, and you don’t necessarily have to be, even after the most rigorous fitness classes.

Stretching is one way that you can help your body to overcome the soreness of hard fitness sessions. Lengthening your muscle fibers after a workout can help to promote their mobility, and even if stretching doesn’t help your particular brand of fitness class soreness, it doesn’t hurt either and may help you to feel better in the moment or immediately post-stretch.

Massaging your muscles after a workout is a method that is fully backed by the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, and professionals even recommend massaging your muscle groups with a foam roller on days when you’re not feeling sore as well. Start at the bottom with your calves and legs, and roll the foam roller up and down each muscle group 4 or 5 times before moving your way up.

Using heat and ice can also greatly help you to overcome your post fitness class soreness. Immediately after a workout, focus on icing your sore areas in order to lower the inflammation caused by overworked muscles, and focus on heat later on in between fitness classes in order to increase circulation throughout your body.

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