How to Avoid Leg Muscle Pain

· 15th March 2019
Aching leg muscles are felt standing up, sitting down, climbing stairs, and also when stretching your legs as you go to bed. This is a discomfort we must learn to avoid.

Often, people can suffer leg muscle pains after working out or after walking for 30 minutes or more. This pain may be the result of not performing the exercise properly.

Muscle pain may be the result of not paying attention to certain aspects during the training session. In some cases, it may be from bad posture, in other cases, poor hydration. Sometimes it’s several issues at once. In any case, the truth is that it considerably affects our well being.

The worst part of muscle pain is that it will prevent us from continuing our workout and also, keep us from doing other activities such as climbing stairs for example. With this in mind, it’s important to know how to prevent muscle pain, cramps, and any related discomfort.

How to avoid leg muscle pain during workouts?

We need to remember that after training we cannot avoid pain entirely, however, we can reduce its impact and make recovery easier. This is due to the fact that muscles have to “show” that they have worked and that they need to rest in order to recover.

Normally after a training session, you may feel slight pain for approximately 48 hours. However, it’s possible to reduce the time you feel this pain down to 12 hours by following these simple tips:

1. Warm up

It’s very important to stretch properly before you start your workout. It will only take a few minutes and it can significantly reduce pain and spasms. Working out “cold” only makes you more prone to injuries.

man stretching

2. Hydrate

During the day you must hydrate -you are surely familiar with the two liters a day rule? When you work out, you need to increase your water intake.

Water not only quenches thirst and prevents dehydration but it also helps to regulate body temperature. It contains nutrients and “loosens” the joints. It also allows perspiration and eliminates toxins through urine. If you drink water during your session, you will prevent cramps, fatigue, dizziness, spasms, and injuries.

3. Watch your posture

If you don’t know how to perform an exercise, ask a coach or trainer. Sometimes, muscle pain may be due to poor execution or the use of more weight than you can handle.

group yoga

4. Don’t push yourself too hard

Another good piece of advice to avoid leg muscle pain (and any other body muscle pain) is to know your limits and not exceed your capabilities. Your training routine does not have to go to extremes overnight.

If you try to lift more weight than you can handle it’s likely that you’ll hurt yourself. The same goes for cardio workouts, you don’t want to run before you walk!

5. Stretch when you finish your workout

Many people complete their training session and head straight to the shower. This is a mistake that could provoke a spasm or intense muscle pain. So, although you may not enjoy the idea of taking a few minutes to stretch out, this is essential for the blood to flow correctly and fully recover in less time.

stretching exercises

How to avoid leg muscle pain after working out?

1. Rest

Our body needs at least 24 hours of rest to return back to “normality” after a training session. That’s why it’s not recommended to go to the gym daily. We should skip a day in between workouts to allow our muscles to recover. During this period, low impact exercises are recommended, such as walking.

2. Sleep

Do you know that muscles regenerate while we sleep? This is why we recommend that you sleep for at least eight hours every night. If you can take a half hour nap, even better!

3. Raise your legs

An effective technique to avoid muscle pain after working out is to lay down on your bed, couch or floor and raise your legs. Rest your feet against a wall for one minute. The idea is to keep the legs stretched and favor blood return. This can be repeated several times until you feel rested for at least 15 minutes.

woman legs raised

In case the muscle pain is too intense you should see a physiotherapist. A professional may tell you what to do and how. Do not ignore the issue and avoid self-medicating. Suspend your training too, since this will only worsen matters.

  • Burrus, M. T., Werner, B. C., Starman, J. S., Gwathmey, F. W., Carson, E. W., Wilder, R. P., & Diduch, D. R. (2015). Chronic Leg Pain in Athletes. American Journal of Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546514545859
  • Reinking, M. F. (2006). Exercise-related leg pain in female collegiate athletes: The influence of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. American Journal of Sports Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546506287298
  • Clanton, T. O., & Coupe, K. J. (1998). Hamstring strains in athletes: diagnosis and treatment. The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://doi.org/10.5435/00124635-199807000-00005
  • Pell, R. F., Khanuja, H. S., & Cooley, R. G. (2004). Leg Pain in the Running Athlete. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://doi.org/10.5435/00124635-200411000-00004