Playing tennis requires a lot of movement, from running to jumping to stretching. All of this activity can result in muscle fatigue and soreness, commonly known as “tennis legs”. Tennis legs can be a nuisance, making it difficult to return to the court for your next game or practice. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the severity of the pain and help you recover faster.
What Causes Tennis Legs?
Tennis legs is usually caused by a combination of muscle fatigue from vigorous physical activity and lactic acid build-up in the muscles. The lactic acid is a by-product of the muscle’s energy production during exercise and is released into the bloodstream during strenuous activity. As the lactic acid builds up in the muscles, they begin to feel tight and sore.
What Can You Do to Reduce the Pain?
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the discomfort of tennis legs and help you recover faster.
1. Get Plenty of Rest
The first and most important step to recovering from tennis legs is to rest. Rest allows your body to repair the damaged muscles and allows the lactic acid to dissipate. Make sure to get plenty of sleep following a strenuous game or practice, as this will help your body to recover faster.
2. Perform Light Stretching
In addition to rest, light stretching can also help to reduce the pain and tightness associated with tennis legs. Stretching helps to loosen the muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce lactic acid build-up. When stretching, make sure to do gentle, slow stretches and never force your body into a painful position.
3. Massage the Muscles
Massaging the affected muscles can also help to reduce the pain and discomfort of tennis legs. Massage helps to increase blood flow to the muscles, which helps to reduce lactic acid build-up and improve recovery time. You can use a foam roller, tennis ball, or even your own hands to massage the affected muscles.
4. Take a Hot or Cold Shower
Taking a hot or cold shower can also help to reduce the pain and discomfort of tennis legs. The hot water helps to increase blood flow to the muscles, while the cold water helps to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms. Experiment with different temperatures to find the one that works best for you.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is also important for reducing the severity of tennis legs. When exercising, your body loses a lot of water, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your game or practice. Staying hydrated will help to reduce lactic acid build-up and flush out toxins from the body.
Preventing Tennis Legs
In addition to reducing the pain of tennis legs, there are also steps you can take to prevent them in the first place.
1. Warm-up and Cool-down Properly
Before beginning any physical activity, make sure to warm-up properly. Warming-up helps to increase blood flow to the muscles and prepare them for the physical activity to come. After you’re done playing, make sure to cool down for at least 10 minutes to help flush out lactic acid and reduce muscle fatigue.
2. Wear Proper Clothing and Shoes
Make sure to wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable and allow you to move freely. Wearing the wrong type of clothing can restrict your movement and increase the risk of tennis legs.
3. Avoid Over-exertion
Make sure to pace yourself on the court. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start slow and gradually increase your intensity as your body becomes accustomed to the physical activity.
4. Cross-train and Strengthen Muscles
In addition to playing tennis, make sure to do other forms of physical activity such as running, swimming, biking, etc. Cross-training helps to strengthen the muscles and reduce the risk of injury. Make sure to also do exercises that target the specific muscles used in tennis, such as squats, lunges, and calf raises.
Tennis legs can be a nuisance, but there are steps you can take to reduce the pain and discomfort. Make sure to get plenty of rest, perform light stretching, massage the muscles, take a hot or cold shower, and stay hydrated. In addition, make sure to warm-up and cool-down properly, wear proper clothing and shoes, avoid over-exertion, and cross-train and strengthen the muscles. By following these steps, you can help to reduce the severity of tennis legs and help you recover faster.
- Rest – Get plenty of rest following a strenuous game or practice.
- Stretching – Perform light stretching to help loosen the muscles and reduce lactic acid build-up.
- Massage – Massage the affected muscles to increase blood flow and reduce lactic acid build-up.
- Shower – Take a hot or cold shower to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms.
- Hydrate – Stay hydrated before, during, and after your game or practice.
- Warm-up – Make sure to warm-up properly before beginning any physical activity.
- Cool-down – After playing, cool down for at least 10 minutes to help flush out lactic acid.
- Clothing – Wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable and allow you to move freely.
- Pace Yourself – Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start slow and gradually increase your intensity.
- Cross-train – In addition to playing tennis, do other forms of physical activity and exercises to strengthen the muscles.