Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Soreness after a workout; what does it mean...or not mean?

I had a client today ask me about soreness after workouts: Why does it happen? Is it okay? Am I getting a good workout even if I’m not sore? Those are all GREAT questions!

Some people are extremely sore when they first start to work out or try something new (like hard to sit down and get back up out of their chair kind of sore). This soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. This is typically caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibers from overloading the muscles during your workouts (totally normal and actually what you want to gain muscle and strength!). You might experience soreness 24 to 48 hours after a workout in which you did a new exercise or increased the weight that you lifted.

Even if you are a seasoned exercise buff, you may still experience soreness the day or two after a workout in which you did something different (a different move, more reps, etc.) or when you go up in weight as you get stronger.

Although many people view muscle soreness as an indicator of how hard they worked during their last workout, it is not always the best measure. Varying your work outs, increasing your weight, lifting to fatigue and trying new ways to move the body all great ways to make sure you are getting a good workout...with or without soreness.

To prevent soreness or to alleviate sore, tight muscles try the following:
  • Stretch all major muscle groups after your workout
  • Apply heat to the sore area...heat, hot water or heating pads, rush blood to the warm area to help heal muscles
  • Move it...doing light cardio exercise will increase blood flow and your muscles should relax a bit. Sitting on your behind will only make your recovery longer and your muscles tighter.
  • Drink lots of water!

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