While this soreness does seem to confirm to you that you've worked hard with your exercises, this direct and very intensive muscle soreness is usually the type of pain and discomfort that many exercisers experience, after beginning with a progressive resistance training and is often called muscle soreness delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Naturally there are ways to speed up or avoid completely this type of muscle soreness, but let's look at at why muscles get sore in the first place.
Why do muscles get sore?The muscle soreness experienced after a workout - often several hours after, is generally caused by small ruptures or tears in the muscle. Generally muscle soreness occurs when the exerciser starts a new exercise that their body isn't accustomed to. Swelling can occur as well as a result of these minor muscle ruptures, which contributes to the soreness, pain and stiff limbs.
Is muscle soreness a good sign?According to popular opinion many exercisers think that having sore muscles means that you are working out in the right way. This may be true to a certain but it isn't absolutely essential that your muscles get sore after each workout.
So why isn't muscle soreness OK?The main reason that muscle soreness isn't good, is that essentially you wont be able to workout as effectively for the next few days. With a sore body - you need a little rest. Another reason muscle soreness is a bad sign is because it can mean that your training technique is poor both before, during and after the exercise session. For example, people who don't warm up properly have longer muscle soreness than people who do. If your muscles are sore from a weight lifting or exercise session then there are a few simple things that you can do to shorten the amount of time they stay painful.
Although there isn't a simple way to treat delayed onset muscle soreness, gentle stretching is one of the recommended ways to reduce exercise related muscle soreness, however, recent studies found that stretching is not effective in avoiding muscle soreness. In essence there isn't any one single treatment that is absolutely proven as being effective ''here and now'', and while some people have found the following helpful, it's best for you to try a few things to see what works for you and the really best advice for treating muscle soreness - is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Tips for treating post exercise muscle soreness:
- If you feel better waiting until the pain subsides, the soreness will stop with a few days - usually 3 to 7 days with no special treatment. Let the muscle soreness subside thoroughly before performing any vigorous exercise.
- Take a soak in a warm bath. Dissolve a cup of Epsom salts or bath salts and unashamedly soak until your skin wrinkles. Top up with warm water if necessary. For some this helps a great deal.
- Alternatively, sit in a bath filled with ice water for 5 minutes - or take a very cold shower. This can be really tough to start, but you''ll feel great the next day and no sore muscles at all.
- Perform some easy low-impact aerobic exercise to increase blood flow. This has been known to help get rid of muscle soreness.
- Even though research hasn't found gentle stretching reduces muscle soreness, some people find that it does help.
- Gentle massage to the affected muscles can alleviate muscle soreness and reducing swelling.
- Try using an anti-inflammatory medication - something like aspirin or ibuprofen, which will reduce the soreness temporarily, though this doesn't actually have any healing effects.
- Yoga has proven to help some people in reducing muscle stiffness and pain.
- Warm up completely before your next exercise session. Warming up immediately before exercise is proven to help avoid muscle soreness. Unfortunately cooling down performed after exercise as no effect.
- Round each workout off, even weight training with 10 to 15 minutes of light cardio. This will get the blood and lymphatic system flowing and will help eliminate waste products that have built up during your workout.
- If your muscle pain persists longer than about 7 days or increases despite these measures, consult with your doctor.