Some muscle soreness after starting a new exercise plan is to be expected, but that doesn't mean it's fun to walk like a penguin because your legs ache. University of Maryland kinesiology professor Stephen M. Roth explained to Scientific American that the production of lactate, a byproduct of strenuous exercise, is partially to blame for the soreness you feel. Fortunately, simple home remedies can help prevent or relieve post-workout soreness in newbies.
Ice your sore muscles. Olympic athletes know that soaking their feet, ankles and calves after a workout can prevent swelling and soreness. You don't need to hold your leg in a bucket of ice, though. A bag of frozen vegetables or a freezer bag full of ice wrapped in a towel can provide the same relief with less shock.
Get a massage. Even a 10-minute session can help, though of course you'll probably want more. Try Swedish or sports massage for maximum relief.
Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as blueberries, tart cherries, pomegranate seeds and ginger, which are full of free radicals that may help prevent or relieve soreness. As an alternative, drink 1 oz. of concentrated tart cherry juice after your workout.
Work out again. You don't have to do anything strenuous, but even a brisk walk warms and soothes your muscles.
See a doctor if you suspect injury. Sore muscles are one thing, but downright painful muscles are another. If the pain lasts for more than a few days or is accompanied by swelling that doesn't go down, you could be injured and should seek medical attention.
S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.