Sore muscles can happen after an intense workout, especially if you're getting your sweat on in a new way. Rather than sitting on your tush until your sore hamstrings feel better, there are other forms of exercise you can do to work toward that beach-ready body you desire. But if the pain in your hamstrings is acute, see your doctor instead of trying to exercise.
Sore Hamstring Causes
Those sore hamstrings you're hobbling around on are likely the result of delayed onset muscle soreness. or DOMS. This occurs within 24 to 48 hours after a workout, often after you've tried a new exercise or have worked out with greater intensity. Although DOMS is uncomfortable, you can still exercise and doing so might even bring you some relief from soreness and stiffness. But you might want to give your body a break from the usual intense workout and go for some lighter or different activities while your sore hamstrings recover.
The buoyancy of the water helps to support your weight so you don't put as much pressure on your sore hamstrings while you exercise. Burn that excess flab and tone muscles while swimming, water walking or taking a water aerobics class. Since the water reduces your weight by approximately 90 percent, you can exercise for as long as you normally do without stressing your sore hamstring muscles. For an even gentler option, tread water or stand still and move your arms through the water while cupping your hands or holding paddles.
Upper Body-Focused Cardio
If your sore hamstring has you feeling like you'd rather sit on your bottom all day, you can do so while stilling getting a cardio workout. An arm crank cycle is similar to a stationary bike except that you pedal with your arms instead of your legs. The upper body-focus of this exercise allows you to rest your hamstrings completely while still burning calories and working toward your weight loss goal. Many gyms have arm crank cycles.
Preventing and Dealing with Sore Muscles
Warming up your muscles before you exercise can help you avoid sore hamstrings and other stiff muscles. March in place, walk or pedal your bike slowly for five to 10 minutes before you start exercising. If your hamstrings are still sore after a workout, ice them two to three times over the course of the day for 15 minutes each time. You can also ease your hamstring soreness with gentle stretches, such as the strap stretch. Lie on your back, and raise your right leg up at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Wrap a towel around your flexed foot, and gently pull your toes toward you. Hold the stretch for eight counts, and then repeat on the other side.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.