Ah that morning after exercise feeling. Stiffness, aching muscles, walking like someone forty years older. We’ve all been there.
Getting moving will ease stiffness, however much you may feel like a duvet day.
Moving is one thing, but do sore muscles mean no workout? Here’s the lowdown.
That post-workout pain is due to the demand placed on your muscles by exercise. Believe it or not, we build muscle by damaging it. When we exercise to a higher level than normal, muscle fibres develop tiny splits. The pain is the body’s signal of ‘enough’, although it can take a while to develop. That’s DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness.
Tiny fibre tears are a natural part of muscle building. Rest days allow the tears to heal and increase fibre size. What you don’t want are big tears in muscle. That’s real damage so don’t push to that level.
It used to be thought that the pain was due to a build-up of lactic acid produced by muscles. However, we now know that the lactic acid disappears within 30 minutes of stopping exercise, so DOMS isn’t due to that.
The honest answer is wait for it to go away. It will after a day or so. Meantime, gentle movement will ease things, so that duvet day definitely isn’t the answer! Go for a walk or do some gentle stretches after a bit of a warm up. Some people also find that massage is helpful.
The big question – and as usual, the answer is ‘it depends’. The best solution is to have a workout plan that rotates round muscle groups. You can work legs one day, then give them a couple of days off while you concentrate on your upper body.
Occasional muscle soreness is part of getting fitter. Vary your workout and don’t be ashamed of a day off.
I find that my foam roller helps with stiffness if it's really bad. But really is anyone that bothered by it, especially if they work out regularly, they shouldn't really get too much muscle ache
Stretching before and after working out is the only way I can try to ease any soreness. Anything else I just accept as part of getting stronger. It's not pain, it's growth!
I really like the muscle soreness I get after working muscles I don't usually. It shows that I am getting stronger and not just repeating the same old movements each time.
For those of you who are in the 60 plus range take some advice from me particularly if your training sessions are hard and you do suffer with muscle or joint pain. It is not worth the aggrevation you can give yourself. It is not the muscles that you might be damaging but the ligaments and tendons where the ultimate damage can build up and prevent you from reaching your fitness goals. I had to find out the hard way and cause substantial tears in various parts of my body. Now even though I might engage in a three hour trainning session I will have two to three days off in between the next session and I find this means I will feel stronger the next time.
rotating the workout between muscles is really the way to go- but even we dedicated gym goers need to recognise the value of a day off. Doesn't mean 'do nothing' - after a hard session I know that I will be far more comfortable if I get moving rather than spend the day on the sofa.