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Address your leg soreness after a workout.
Stretching offers many benefits when done correctly, including improved joint flexibility and a potential for decreased risk of injury during physical activity. Proper warm up and cool down routines that focus on dynamic and static stretching can help reduce muscle soreness. Understanding some of the factors that contribute to leg aches will guide you in adjusting your workout routine to reduce symptoms.
Don't Overdo It!
One of the most likely causes for leg aches after exercise or physical activity is the overexertion of your muscles. Your body has built-in mechanisms to guide you as you work out so that you can protect yourself and avoid overdoing it. If you are exercising and begin to experience moderate to severe discomfort, reduce the intensity immediately and modify your workout. Take care to gradually ramp up your exercises over time to reduce your risk for an overuse injury. Inflammation in your muscle fibers as they attempt to repair themselves after overuse can lead to swelling 24 to 72 hours after you exercise, often resulting in aching pain.
Dynamic Pre-Workout Warm Up Stretches
Your pre-workout routine is vital to pain reduction, injury risk reduction and improved performance during your workout. An article in the 2006 "Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research" found that a dynamic movement warm up improved the participants performance in power and agility exercises and was not associated with the reduced power and performance observed with static pre-workout stretching. So, to reduce your pain during and after a leg workout, add dynamic stretches performed for at least 10 repetitions each, moving quickly and steadily without resting or holding a stretch. For example, consider adding low leg kicks, lunges and ankle pumps as part of your warm up.
Stretch It Out
After you have completed your workout and a cool down period, add static stretches to help improve joint mobility and remove any built-up lactic acid and other metabolic chemicals. Move slowly and precisely during your stretches, holding for at least 30 seconds or even longer for older adults. Complete at least four repetitions of each stretch, adding even more repetitions for any stretch that targets your muscles that ache.
When to Be Cautious
Aching can be a sign of significant health issues, including hormonal imbalances and neurological diseases. If your leg pain occurs for more than a few hours, see your doctor. Get emergency care for any severe pain, especially if you are unable to walk. Some common injuries, such as a stress fracture, can cause chronic aching and should be addressed by your physician. Discontinue any exercise until you have cleared it with your doctor.