Did you know that after a run your muscles are more sensitive than usual? There’s science behind it! When you exercise, your body produces lactic acid as a byproduct. As your body continues to produce lactic acid during and after exercise, the pH level of your body decreases. In response, your body sends more nerve endings to that area so you can feel pain sooner and avoid further damage. This sensitivity is why we sometimes feel sore after running.
But there’s also another reason: When you run long distances or uphill, your leg muscles contract repeatedly in rapid succession. This puts stress on the fibers and can lead to muscle strain and inflammation. That said, massaging your legs after running is one of the best ways to mitigate against the potential for injury and speed up recovery time.
As you probably know, running is one of the most effective ways to stay in shape. And while it’s a great way to lose weight and firm up those legs, it comes with a downside: sore muscles.
Because running is such an intense exercise, your legs are likely to be left feeling strained and tense after just a few runs. However, there are some simple tricks you can use to reduce the impact on your muscles and ease the strain on your body.
If you’re new to running or just looking for some additional ways to stretch out those quads, hamstrings, and calves after hitting the pavement, keep reading for some useful tips on how you can massage your legs after running.
Is Legs Massage Good After Running?
Massaging your legs after a long run has many benefits. In addition to preventing injury and speeding up the recovery process, massage also helps reduce swelling in your legs. Swelling is a natural response that your body has to injury or stress. Your lymph nodes produce fluid that travels to your injured areas and help remove toxins from your muscles. When you run, your lymph nodes produce more fluid than normal and it can get trapped in your legs. When you massage your legs, you encourage the fluid to move back towards your heart and lymph nodes. This helps prevent bloating and swelling in your legs. Afterwards, you’ll feel refreshed and less stressed out; it’s a great way to unwind after a busy day!
Massaging your legs after a run can be beneficial in a number of ways. At the most basic level, it can be a great way to relieve some of the muscle soreness that you might be feeling after a hard run. This is because when you massage your muscles, it increases blood flow to that area. Increased blood flow means that your body will be able to remove lactic acid and other metabolic byproducts more quickly, which can reduce muscle soreness.
By massaging your legs after running, you can also help to prevent injury. Running can put a lot of stress on your body, especially the legs. If you don’t give your muscles time to recover after a hard run, you risk overworking your muscles and straining them. Massaging your legs after a run can help to speed up the recovery process, which can help you avoid injury.
Why is It Important to Massage Your Legs After Running?
The most important reason to massage your legs after running is to prevent injury. It’s easier to prevent an injury than to treat one! When you massage your legs after a run, you help reduce inflammation and speed up the recovery process. This, in turn, will help you avoid injury and make progress towards your fitness goals. In addition, massage improves blood flow to your muscles. If blood flow is normal, your muscles are less likely to sustain an injury. This is especially important after a long run since your muscles are working harder than usual. It’s important to massage your muscles as soon as you finish exercising to keep them healthy and strong.
Another most important reason to massage your legs after running is to reduce muscle soreness. When you massage your legs, you increase blood flow to that area, which removes metabolic byproducts more quickly. Massaging your legs after running can also help speed up muscle recovery, which can help you avoid injury.
What Causes Leg Pain During and After Running?
Leg pain during and after running is usually caused by muscle strain or inflammation. You can experience this pain in your shins, calves, or hamstrings. Shin splints (also known as medial tibial stress syndrome): This is caused by inflammation in the muscles and/or tendons around your shinbone. Shin splints are common among runners, especially those who run on hard surfaces.
- Calf pain - This can be caused by a number of things, including a tight Achilles tendon, poor footwear, calf weakness, and/or overuse.
- Hamstring pain - This is caused by overworking the hamstrings during a run.
We’ve discussed the potential for injury as one reason to massage your legs after running. But there are other common reasons for leg pain such as leg cramps, dehydration, tight muscles, weak muscles, and poor form.
1. Leg cramps - Cramps are sudden, painful spasms that can occur in your foot or leg. They’re usually caused by dehydration or low electrolyte levels in your body. Electrolytes are minerals found in your blood, such as sodium and calcium, that help regulate your heartbeat. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes. To prevent cramps, make sure you’re hydrating regularly and eating foods that are high in electrolytes.
2. Dehydration - Your body needs water to function properly. If you’re not hydrated, your muscles can cramp up, you can become lightheaded, and you can even faint! Runners need to take in extra water because we’re spending extra time outdoors and sweating. Aim for two to three litres of water per day.
3. Tight muscles - If you’re new to running, your muscles might be tight from being inactive. When you run, you rely on your muscles more than usual to support your body weight. If your muscles are too tight, you might feel pain or discomfort. Make sure you warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before you start jogging. If you’re still experiencing pain, try seeing a physical therapist to help you work out the knots.
4. Weak muscles - Having weak muscles can cause pain and injury. When your muscles are too weak to support your body, they put a lot of pressure on your joints and can lead to joint pain. You can prevent this by performing strengthening exercises and cross-training with non-running sports.
5. Poor form - Poor form is likely the main reason you’re experiencing pain after your run. If you’re running too fast, too fast, you might be putting too much pressure on your muscles and joints and increasing your risk of injury. Make sure you’re running at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
How Do You Get Your Legs to Recover After Running?
Getting your legs to recover after running starts off with the right pre-run routine. Make sure to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at a low intensity before you start running. This will get your heart pumping and blood flowing to your muscles, and prevent you from getting injured. During a massage, your blood flow increases to your muscles. This helps your muscles recover faster after running. Make sure to massage your muscles for at least 5 minutes.
When you exercise, your muscles produce lactic acid, a byproduct that causes muscle soreness. It takes 24 hours for your body to break down lactic acid and get rid of it. Massaging your muscles helps your body get rid of lactic acid faster.
If you want your legs to recover after a run, the best thing you can do is rest. But that doesn’t just mean lying on the couch watching TV. To speed up muscle recovery, you also need to be doing things like eating well, sleeping enough, managing your stress levels, and getting enough hydration. That said, massaging your legs after a run can also help to speed up the recovery process. Leg massage can improve blood flow to the muscles, which can help to remove lactic acid and reduce muscle soreness. It can also help to speed up muscle recovery, which can help you avoid injury.
How to Massage Sore Legs After Running?
When you massage your legs, you’re increasing your blood flow, reducing inflammation, and increasing your range of motion. Always massage with the direction of your muscles to avoid overworking them.
- Start with your calves. Using your thumbs, gently press into the muscles and apply pressure while rotating your ankles. Move up towards your knees, keeping your thumbs on the sides of your calves. When you get to the top, use your fingers to massage the tops of your calves.
- Next, massage your shins. Make sure to apply enough pressure to get blood flowing towards your knees. When you’re done with your shins, move up towards your thighs. Start at your knees and work your way up towards your groin.
When you’re finished, gently stretch your calves and shins to help relieve any tension in your muscles. And make sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated.
You can also add heat to your massage to help increase blood flow. For best results, you should massage your legs after every run. You can also massage your calves and hamstrings as needed. As a rule of thumb, you should massage your legs after each run you take longer than 30 minutes.
How to Massage Calves After Running?
There are a few different ways to massage the calves to ease soreness. One is to use both hands to squeeze your calf muscles. Another is to press on the top of your foot, right below your ankle bone. You can also try stretching your calves to ease soreness and prevent muscle tightness. To do this, put one foot in front of the other and drop your heels below the level of your toes. Hold this position for 10–20 seconds, then switch feet.
1. Warm up your muscles - The best time to massage your legs is after a run. However, make sure you warm up your muscles before you start. You can do it by walking or jogging for 5-10 minutes.
2. Break up the knots - Focus on the muscles in your calves, shins, and quadriceps. These are the most likely to become knotted. You can break up the knots by applying firm pressure with your hands or a massage tool.
3. Go against the grain - Massaging your legs with the grain can increase your pain and make your knots tighter. Instead, go against the grain to ease the pain and speed up the recovery process.
4. Consider self-massage tools - You can use self-massage tools to massage your legs after running. They are easy to use and make massage more efficient such as massage gun.
5. Stay hydrated - You should stay hydrated while massaging your legs. Drinking water can prevent dehydration and leg cramps.
It is important to massage your calves after running to help ease any cramping or stiffness. To do this, sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Grab the top of your foot and pull it towards your knees. Gently massage your calves for about a minute.
Don’t Rush the Recovery Process
When your body is recovering from an intense workout, it needs time to repair and rebuild its tissues. If you try to jump back into a running schedule too quickly after an injury, you risk re-injuring yourself and slowing down your recovery process. You also don’t want your muscles to start to atrophy. Depending on the severity of your injury, it could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to fully recover. If you’re worried about an injury, you can always talk to your doctor to get a better idea of how long it will take to heal.
Stretch Before and After Your Run
One thing you can do to help avoid injury when you’re running is to make sure to stretch before and after your workout. When you stretch, you’re improving your range of motion and muscle flexibility. This helps to prevent injury and keep your muscles from getting too tight. Before you go on a run, you should stretch your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. After you finish running, you should stretch your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps again. You should also make a habit of stretching your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps every day, even if you aren’t planning on going for a run.
Self Massage Techniques for Leg Pain
If your legs are sore after a run, you can try some self massage techniques to speed up recovery. You can use your hands, massage gun or a foam roller to massage your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps, as well as your shins, depending on where you’re feeling sore. While you can’t speed up the healing process, you can give your body a bit of a helping hand.
Depending on where you feel sore, you can try out a few techniques. If you’re massaging your shins, you can use a rolling motion to help break up any lactic acid buildup. To massage your calves and hamstrings, you can use a kneading motion to help break up any knots in the muscle.
When you massage your legs after running, you increase your blood flow. Your blood carries oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which helps you recover faster after exercising. When your blood flow is normal, you’re less likely to experience pain and your muscles are more likely to stay healthy. Massaging your legs can also help relieve joint pain and discomfort. When your muscles are tense, they pull on your joints, causing pain. Make sure to use enough pressure to break up the muscle knots and decrease your joint pain. You can use a tennis ball to apply extra pressure to your calves, shins, and ankles. When you massage your legs after running, you’re helping your muscles recover faster and relieving joint pain.
Runners typically experience muscle soreness and joint pain after a run. It’s important to massage your legs after running to speed up the recovery process, reduce inflammation, and prevent injury. Make sure to massage your calves, shins, and thighs to increase your blood flow and help relax your muscles. You can use a massage gun to apply extra pressure to your calves, shins, and ankles. When you massage your legs after running, you’re helping your muscles recover faster and relieving joint pain.