UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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You’ve just had a great workout. You’re feeling good, you’ve got a boost of energy and you could conquer the world. Flash forward to two days later and things are looking much different. You can hardly move, you’re drained of energy and you are sore as can be. What is the body function causing this shift and what can we do to alleviate it?
This muscle soreness is most frequently felt when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine or dramatically increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine. Up until a few years ago it was thought that lactic acid, the byproduct of overexerting muscle cells, was the cause of sore muscles. Today we know that lactic acid does not remain in the muscles for longer than 60 minutes after the physical exertion.
New research indicates that the cause of sore muscles is small tearing to the muscle fibers. When you overdo any physical activity, you do some damage to the muscle fiber membranes. Each time the fiber tears, you are building it a little bit more.The amount of soreness depends on how hard and how long you exercise and what type of exercise you do. Any movement you aren’t used to can lead to sore muscles. Try the following tips to ease muscle soreness.
The very best thing you can do for soreness is to rest the muscles in question. Because the sore muscle is due to tearing, the best way to think of sore muscles is to equate it to an injury. When you are injured the only way to recover is to rest. If you push yourself you can cause more damage or even injury. You do not have to stop activity completely, but you will have to rest up for a few days in order to give the muscles a chance to heal.
Stretching after the activity that caused the soreness can reduce cramping, tightening, and soreness in fatigued muscles and will make you feel better. Do not wait until the muscle is already sore to do something about it. Stretch immediately after your workout to prevent stiffness later on.
Heat can be used as a preventative measure or to help calm sore muscles. The heat increases blood flow to the muscle and helps it to rebuild. Try heating pads or a hot tub to speed the healing and for soothing relief.
If your muscles are sore it is because they are rebuilding themselves from the intense workout you have put them through. Muscles require a lot of protein to rebuild. Making sure you are getting enough in your diet will speed up your recovery time considerably as well as prevent muscle loss from poor nutrition.
So you are feeling sore. This is a good thing; it means you are doing something right. Not only are you making sure you are exercising but you are working yourself to a point of improvement. Your muscles tissue heals quickly and you are getting stronger with each workout session. Do not let being sore discourage you as you will not be nearly as sore the next time you perform the same activity. An active lifestyle can help save you money on term health insurance, so rest up those muscles and keep up the good work!