Stretch your muscles. Stretching your muscles prior to a workout helps to keep the muscles limber and minimizes the damage and therefore the pain you feel. Stretching after a workout is a light form of exercise and allows the muscles more of a chance to cool down. Post-workout stretching also has the benefit increasing blood flow and helping natural recovery.
Heat your muscles. Make sure that muscles are warm before a workout; this may involve the use of a heat pack and heavy warm-up gear. This can all reduce muscle stiffness. Stiffness is often related to injuries and previous muscle damage.
Cool down your muscles. A cool-down can help the transport of harmful waste products from your muscles and allow your heart to slow down in a more regular manner. If you just stop working out, those waste products can be more easily trapped in your muscles and can hurt longer. Also, your heart will thank you, as it puts a lot less stress on your cardiovascular system.
Keep your activity level up. If you just sit down and vegetate for the rest of the day you will feel more sore. Staying active also helps the muscles to recover better and keeps them from becoming tight and holding onto that waste material. It is often referred to as active rest. It helps on a psychological level as well. It helps keep your mind off of the pain.
Eat healthy foods. Keeping your muscles high in vitamins and necessary nutrients helps ensure that when your muscles are rebuilding they have the building blocks that they need. Protein is a necessity as is potassium. Meats and bananas are perfect ways to get these naturally.