Hello, my name’s Gemma and welcome to Bodyfixit. I wanted to give you my top tips if you’re struggling with muscle aches and pains.

You might be doing an event or you’ve just done one and you need help recovering and working with injuries, niggles so that you’re able to move easy and you don’t feel DOMS setting in, that’s the big thing. So if you’ve done an event or you’ve worked hard, DOMS is delayed onset of muscle soreness, it’s when you feel like an old person, like you can’t move, can’t walk down the stairs easily. You might find sitting down to the toilet is quite uncomfortable, I know how you feel and these are my top tips to help with that, okay?

So the first one is that you can massage yourself. So if you’ve got a pain or an area that’s particularly sore, just gently rub the area. That encourages blood flow which helps healing. So on a basic level, you’re effectively self-massaging, you’re just getting the blood moving and if you’re able, some people find it too much, you can use a (?) but just please use it gently, you’re not trying to bruise the area, you’re just trying to flush it out. So get the blood pumping, move the fibres around so they’re not stuck together.

My next tip is water. So make sure you’re rehydrating, think about your electrolyte level so your sodium, potassium, magnesium levels. I recommend a brand called Elite, you just put it in your water, tiny amount and it helps regulate your electrolyte levels but also think your water consistently. A lot of people forget about it and it’s too late, think early, have a bit of water and then again and again and again, don’t think, “Oh I’m going to have a litre here and I’m going to have a litre here.” Think regular.

My next tip is get moving. So trying to avoid seizing up and sitting for a long period which unfortunately sometimes, you end up driving to an event and then you have to drive home so you seize up over time but if you can, just get moving, walk slowly. If you’ve done an event and you have got to drive home, just do a short walk before you get in the car and then when you get out, try and walk again, get everything moving, get the blood pumping and flushing everything out.

My next tip is stretching. So, static or contract-relaxed stretching is going to be really beneficial, gentle stretching. It shouldn’t be painful, it should just be like you’re gently stretching the tissue, not that it’s causing pain and bruising and further injury. So make sure you stretch the muscles that you’ve used so if you’ve been for a run, make sure you do your calves, you can roll out underneath your feet, you can do your hamstrings, your quads, your glutes and you might find shoulders because you held tension in them during the run.

My next tip is massage. So, clearly I’m an advocate for massage but massage is very good because it helps you recover quicker. We’re looking at the areas that have built up tension, we can further stretch those using muscle energy techniques and soft tissue release so we can really

work on the areas that have built up tension and also the key with that is we can pick up areas that are building up tension early before an injury is likely to occur. So I can say to you, “This tissue is tight, let’s work out why it’s happening and then we can stop it becoming an injury or less likely to become an injury with consistent help.”

Lastly, if you’re really struggling with DOMS, then ideally you would do it before the DOMS start to set in so you do your event and then you have an ice bath. The way that I tell people to do that is, put a woolly jumper on, you might want have a hat on, I tend to do it with a cup of tea, because it’s really difficult so sit there for a long period and you’re aiming for 15 minutes. If you can’t get that far that’s fine but that’s what you’re aiming for. So what you want to do is sit in the bath and you’re going to put the cold tap on and you’re going to fill up the bath so it covers your legs and you sit in that for 15 minutes or as long as you’re able to do. After that time, let half of that water out and then put the hot tap on. A lot of people what they do is run the bath out and put hot in and actually that undoes the effect of being in a cold bath because you go from the blood flow reducing to the blood flow increasing really quickly. So you want to go from reduce to normal, you don’t want to go from two extremes because that undoes the effects of the ice bath and who wants to sit in an ice bath for nothing?

So I hope these tips help you. If you’d like more advice, then contact us at Bodyfixit!