Image courtesy of Sparkpeople.com
2. Warm up. Before you start working out, be sure to warm up your body gently. After you workout, keep your body warm to prevent muscles from tensing. A heating pad (you can make you own by pouring rice inside of a sock and heating it in the microwave) can also help to relieve tight muscles.
3. Stretch. Be sure to gently stretch your muscles. There are a lot of great poses or movements for specific muscles online. Just search the muscle group or area you want to stretch and carefully try a few out.
4. Magnesium. Found in many sports drinks, coconut water, and other foods, magnesium helps to release muscle tension. Calcium and magnesium work together to help your muscles move. Calcium makes the muscles contract, and magnesium makes them release. When I am really sore or my muscles feel incredibly tense I take a supplement. Just be careful, magnesium is one of the main ingredients in laxatives and it is easy to overdo it or throw off your bodies balance. Start with the smallest dose possible before finding your optimal level.
5. Rub it out. Self- massage can be a great way to release muscle soreness and tension.
6. Roll it out. My foam roller is my best friend. I foam roll before and after workouts as well as before bed. Foam rolling is essentially like massage in that it presses on the muscles and helps to release knots and tension. I also roll my calves on a 3 inch diameter PVC pipe. My trainer recommended this while I was battling shin splints, and it makes a huge difference.
7. Rest. Listen to your body. When you are sore your body is telling you it's time to take a break and let it rebuild.