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Soaking up the aches and pains with Epsom salt is just one way runners can relax and recover.
Running is often a demanding sport on our bodies with the constant pounding on the ground, so sometimes injuries and pains are unavoidable. But you don’t need to let stiff muscles, aches and pains keep you from running. With a few at-home techniques, you can prevent pangs from getting worse and get back to your regular routine quickly. (Ed note: Consult with your sports doctor or primary physician before trying any brand-new methods of recovery to ensure you’re doing what’s best for your body and any injuries.)
Perform R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate)
You’ve heard it once and you’ll hear it again: When you’re in pain, stop and give your body a break, especially within the first 24 to 48 hours. While frozen peas are a great way to ice your injury (frozen peas mold to you better than ice), the Shock Doctor Ice Wrap is more efficient. Not only does it ice, but it also compresses at the same time, speeding up the healing process.
Roll a Tennis Ball for Foot Pain
Your feet go through a lot on a daily basis. They carry you, pound the pavement and squeeze (hopefully not too much!) into shoes. Give them a little TLC with a blissful tennis ball massage. It’s simple to do and takes a few minutes. Take your tennis ball and place is under your foot. Slowly roll it up and down the length of your foot, pausing on stiff, sore areas to flush out any lactic acid. After a minute or two, roll side to side and then switch feet.
Engage in EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation) for Aches and Pains
For some people this may seem scary, but EMS is one of the best-kept secrets to reduce pain. It’s a small device that sends electronic pulses to your nerve fibers in order to create involuntary muscle contractions. These contractions allow for fresh oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your muscles, flushing out toxins within a few minutes. There are many EMS devices to select from, but one of the easiest and best to use is Compex. The pre-designed programs make it simple to follow. Just place the self-adhesive patches on your sore muscles, press start and let Compex ease your pain. It’s like a deep-tissue massage in the comfort of your own home.
Perfecting Your Posture
You’re hunched over your computer all day, leaving your neck and shoulders achy and rounded—not good for running form. While you can constantly do shoulder rolls and rowing exercises to improve your posture, PostureWear Elite Sports Bra by BackJoy adjusts your posture while sitting, standing or moving. When you get home from work, you can slip this on and cook dinner, use your EMS device, stretch, or go out for a walk, allowing your posture to align and alleviate long-term discomfort.
Indulge in Self-Massage to Reduce Leg and Back Pain
Massages are great for sore muscles—but often you don’t have time for a 60-minute massage. Foam rolling is an excellent alternative to massage, and Trigger Point has some excellent roller options. You only need about 10 minutes to roll out aches and pains. The best part is that you can control the pressure that’s right for you. The first time might be painful, but after a couple times you’ll get used to it. You’ll relax the sore muscles and stretch them to relieve tension.
Related: Basics of Foam Rolling
Relieve Full-Body Pain with Zeel
After a long run or tough workout, your body can quickly stiffen up. One of the best treatments you can do for yourself is get a sports massage. If you have time for one, you can get a treatment in the comfort of your home with Zeel, an on-demand massage app. Sports-massage therapists target the deep layers of your muscles and tendons, releasing knots and overall aches. This opens up your range of motion sooner, allowing your body to recover faster and get back to running in no time.
Soak Up with Epsom Salt
Cheap and easy, Epsom salt works through the skin into the muscles to relieve pain. Just mix a couple of cups into a warm bath and allow your body to relax for 20 minutes. Bonus points: Epsom salt is great for your skin too (aka a great complexion this summer!).
Fara Rosenzweig is certified personal trainer with a love for yoga and running. When she’s not at the gym or outside logging the miles, she’s planning boot camp classes for friends.