Muscle Soreness After Exercise Is One Of The Most Common Problems After New Or Prolonged Exercise. But What Is The Cause, And Can This Pain Be Prevented Or Reduced?
Post-exercise muscle soreness is something that every athlete may have experienced at some point in time, and it is related to doing exercises that the body is not used to.
When you exercise the same way every day, your body gets used to working for specific muscle groups, but if you start a new exercise regimen or exercise longer than usual, you may wake up the next day with sore muscles.
Post-exercise muscle soreness is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which refers to the soreness you experience after an exercise session that often doesn’t subside until the next day. Even athletes who exercise daily may experience muscle soreness after starting a new exercise.
Experiencing muscle soreness in the days after exercise differs from the burning sensation you may feel during the workout.
While some believe that a build-up of lactic acid causes muscle soreness during exercise, it is commonly thought that the pain you experience after exercise results from minor muscle damage and inflammation.
Of course, there are new theories that challenge this belief. A study published in 2020 in the journal Antioxidants suggests that post-exercise pain may be caused by muscle nerve compression rather than tissue damage. However, more research needs to be done to confirm this theory.
“Following physical activity that lasts 30 minutes or more, our muscles are activated, and post-exercise soreness is caused by our muscles repairing themselves,” said exercise physiology expert John Galucci Jr. in a conversation with LiveScience. “Pain is a good sign that you’re pushing yourself, although it shouldn’t be to the point where you feel a lot of pain.”
Is muscle soreness after exercise a good sign?
Muscle pain after exercise can signal that the muscles are getting stronger and show that you have put yourself under pressure during exercise. However, it would be best if you did not exercise in such a way that you experience severe pain. You should also make sure that you get enough rest to allow the condition to heal.
Colucci recommends active recovery when you experience soreness in the days following exercise. Active recovery refers to milder activities after intense exercise that allow the muscles to rest while keeping the body busy. Examples of these types of activities include walking, biking, yoga, and swimming, according to Colucci.
Can you still exercise if you have muscle pain?
In general, as long as you’re sure you’re not injured, you can exercise while still sore from your cardio workout. Of course, as Golucci says, you need to make sure your body mechanics don’t change because of the pain, which can cause more damage.
(When we feel pain, the body creates new movement patterns to reduce the pain. During this process, natural biomechanics, activation Muscle and movement coordination are affected.) this sounds great in theory, but the new movement pattern is inefficient and starts an unpleasant chain of events in the body.
As for how long muscle soreness can last, a 2015 review in the Journal of Physiological Sciences found that post-exercise muscle soreness usually occurs within 12 to 24 hours after exercise and 24 to 72 hours after exercise. It peaks with practice and disappears entirely after seven days. If you still have pain after this time, you may have an injury and should see a doctor.
Is it possible to prevent muscle pain after exercise?
Although muscle soreness may be a standard part of new exercise, there are ways you can prevent it or lessen its effects if it occurs.
One of the best ways to reduce muscle soreness is to stay hydrated: Drinking enough water can help deliver nutrients to the muscles and reduce inflammation, according to Gloucey. Also, ensure you get enough sleep, as your body repairs itself while you sleep.
You can also reduce the risk of injury during exercise by doing dynamic stretching (active movements in which joints and muscles go through a full range of motion) before exercise and static stretching after exercise.
However, it is not yet clear whether stretching can prevent muscle soreness after exercise. A review published in 2011 that reviewed 12 studies found that stretching did not significantly reduce post-exercise muscle soreness in adults. However, there was a minimal reduction in soreness the day after exercise.