3 Tips for Pre- and Post-Workouts to Reduce Soreness

I’ve finished over a dozen triathlons, a marathon, and a 36-hour adventure race. Yet it was a bean bag toss at my son’s school fair that showed me the true importance of discovering how to prevent soreness after workout activities.

I didn’t think of volunteering at a school fair as a form of exercise. My muscles knew otherwise. After bending over for three hours straight at the bean bag toss game, my body felt surprisingly sore the next day. It was a good lesson in the need for both pre-and post-workout routines — even when the workout is playing with your kids.

You could think of these routines as a family fitness “sandwich.” What you do before and after your activities can relieve muscle pain afterward. Though the activity is the “meat,” it can’t be controlled and protected unless you have the sandwich effect on either side.

From a purely science-backed perspective, you’re trying to mitigate the discomfort caused by a phenomenon known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). If you’ve ever felt great after playing with your kids one day but could barely move the next day, you’ve experienced DOMS. The short answer to why DOMS occurs is that the normal micro-damage caused by activating and stimulating your muscles builds up fluid within the muscle tissues. The buildup adds volume to the muscles, causing tenderness.

DOMS can be exacerbated by mid-exercise soreness, too. When you move, you’re asking your muscles to produce energy, either with or without oxygen. If those muscles can’t access oxygen quickly enough to keep up with a high-energy activity, they’ll produce lactic acid. Though the lactic acid will dissipate within an hour or so, it may make your muscles feel initially heavy, tingly, or even hot.

Combined with DOMS, these sensations can make you want to skip your kid’s next school fair — but you shouldn’t. Instead, you need to take steps to lessen your exercise-related muscular twinges.

How to Prevent Muscle Pain After Playing With Your Kids

Although it might not be possible to eliminate muscle soreness from your life, you have more control over it than you may have suspected. The following suggestions can be used as pre- and post-exercise strategies to keep muscles happy — not grumpy.


A standard pre-exercise routine will help you prepare for the activities ahead followed by less muscle recovery pain.

Your routine starts with the right clothing. Dress appropriately for your activity. The outfits you choose can hinder or help your workout. Responsive fabrics may cost more, but they can make your body feel more comfortable and help you recycle your body heat into muscle-supporting energy.

Afterward, go through a warm-up routine of stretching and light movement. Your goal should be to promote blood flow and nudge your muscles awake. Many injuries stem from not warming up. Even if you don’t get injured, jumping right into an activity “cold” can make it challenging to finish strong. Plus, you’re more apt to feel bad later.


Does KT help sore muscles? For me, it has. Kinesio tape is used to support muscle groups. Recreational and professional athletes with previous injuries or areas of concern frequently rely on K-tape for relief. According to the Journal of Sports Science, the use of K-tape has been linked to a reduction in DOMS. [Journal Of Sports Science]

Never tried K-tape before? There are different varieties that offer the benefits of infrared (IR) technology. IR-infused K-tape encourages more local blood flow and improved cellular oxygenation by converting the heat produced during exercise into usable energy that can be redirected into the muscles.

KT Tape's Pro Oxygen line of kinesiology tape is powered by CELLIANT® infrared technology.

To learn how to wrap muscles with K-tape, look for reputable physical therapy sources online. Experiment with K-tape configurations and track how you feel after your child’s next game idea to see which works best to prompt recovery after exercise for sore muscles.


Your muscles, just like your active child, crave variety and excitement. Instead of sticking to the same old routine, explore diverse activities that engage different muscle groups. I like to head to the pool for a swim with my son to mix things up. There are lots of different activities you can do there to target different muscle groups, and an added benefit: the sun’s rays will naturally tire out your little one, which will give you some extra free time afterward.

By mixing it up, you allow your less-used muscle groups to move. Additionally, you get a creative “ping” for your brain. No matter what your preferred activity is, it’s nice to change. Just be sure to pick something you like to do that won’t feel like a chore when you’re spending time with your kid.

No matter what your activity, follow through with good nutrition, hydration, and sleep. Those three must-dos will help your muscles move out lactic acid buildup faster and undergo a lighter DOMS recovery period.

Muscle recovery doesn’t come from one thing you do. It’s part of a bigger process. By incorporating better pre- and post-exercise habits into your life, you won’t be taken down by a kid’s bean bag toss.

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Seth Casden is the CEO and co-founder of Hologenix, a materials science company dedicated to developing products that amplify human potential. CELLIANT®, its flagship technology, is an infrared ingredient brand that enhances textile-based products with health and wellness benefits across performance, recovery and sleep. This article was originally published on The Good Men Project.