Why do our muscles feel sore after a good workout? It’s actually due to a number of tiny tears within your muscles after extensive use. But those tears are a good thing: They’re a sign that you’re getting stronger. That’s because these tears help give your muscles the oxygen flow they need to regrow and build.
On one hand, muscle soreness is a sign of a job well done. On the other hand, too much soreness can feel uncomfortable and make it difficult to get on with your day (or night, especially for the 60 million Americans who already suffer from sleep deprivation or sleeping disorders). Using heat therapy in the form of a heated back wrap or quality neck heat pad can actually help relieve some of that soreness before it starts, but it’s important to do so safely.
Here are some tips for using heat to combat muscle soreness and get you back on your feet again for the next workout.
- Safety Tip #1: Use Heat for Chronic Soreness. Use Ice for Injuries.
One of the most important things you need to distinguish in your own body — especially if you are new to exercise — is when you are simply sore and when you are injured. Swelling is a sign of injury and should be treated with ice, not heat. Heat therapy is better for stimulating oxygen flow for fatigued muscles that are just sore.
- Safety Tip #2: Try Using Heat Before a Workout.
A microwavable heated back wrap or shoulder heat wrap can help warm up your muscles before a workout, quite literally. Apply a pad for no more than 15 to 20 minutes prior to your exercise routine to open up blood flow and help prevent some of that soreness before it even sets in.
- Safety Tip #3: Never Fall Asleep With a Heating Pad On.
This tip explains itself: Leaving on a heating pad for too long can cause burns, even if it’s only at a relatively low temperature. At the very least, it might dry out your skin if you leave it on too long. Again, apply a heating pad for just 15 to 20 minutes, then take a break. If after another hour you could use some more, apply again.
Sore muscles might feel rewarding, but they also need some care and attention if you want to be able to hit the gym again soon. Get relief safely and effectively with a heated back wrap or other microwavable heating pad so that you feel the burn in all the right ways.