Exercising with sore muscles: good or bad idea?

After sweating in the gym or after running, you may sometimes feel unwell. You might feel a feeling of tightness and pain when you try to use your muscles to do things. Some people might be happy about this, because having muscle soreness usually means you’ve tried really hard during the workout. You may smile about it and go to work or do household chores, but the feeling of pain doesn’t go away. It doesn’t get any better the next day either. Does this mean you should rest or train while you still have pain?

Delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common condition that can cause pain and stiffness in a trained muscle, says fitness expert Varun Rattan. It is caused by muscle damage that usually occurs during a lifting session and usually occurs 12 to 72 hours after a workout, depending on the individual. DOMS can also lead to possible loss of muscle strength and stiffness in affected joints, reducing mobility.

Muscle soreness after a workout can happen to anyone. Image provided by: Shutterstock

Certain factors can increase your chances of ending up with muscle soreness after training:

• Do a physical activity that your body is not used to.
• Starting a new fitness program.
• Make changes to your workout routine.
• Increase the intensity or duration of exercises.

It is true that beginners or those who have started training again after a long break will usually experience some soreness during the first two weeks of training. But even an experienced gym goer can experience soreness if they increase the volume and intensity of their workout or try a new workout program.

Should I exercise if I’m in pain?

If you experience pain or symptoms of fatigue, rest. Rattan says it’s not advisable to train with sore muscles if the pain is debilitating and restricts mobility and strength. In such cases, it is recommended to avoid intensive retraining of this muscle for approximately 10 to 14 days. Sometimes pain can prevent you from achieving proper lifting positions and make performing a compound lift less effective. Practicing the lift with poor form can lead to poor motor learning.

How to train with sore muscles

While having soreness can be a great feeling for gym junkies, it doesn’t mean you’re stimulating more muscle growth. This means your body is not used to handling this amount of physical stress, the expert explains.

muscle aches
It is not good to exercise if your body hurts a lot. Image provided by: Shutterstock

Here are some tips to follow:

• Mobility work done at the end of a workout is a good idea.
• Some light exercises involving sore muscles can increase blood flow and transport of nutrients to them, speeding recovery.
• Multiple short periods of light to moderate physical activity, such as walking or cycling, may be beneficial.
• Foam rolling over affected muscles can also help reduce soreness. It’s similar to massage, so it can promote blood flow to the muscles and help reduce inflammation.
• Avoid taking painkillers as they can interfere with recovery and hinder adaptation to training.

Usually, DOMS does not require any medical treatment. It only takes a few days for the pain to disappear. So be patient and get as much rest as you can. Also, if you’re trying a new type of exercise or working out for the first time, go slowly at first. If you gradually increase the intensity and frequency of exercise, you may not have to feel sore after a workout.

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