The SparkPeople Blog

All Entries For muscle soreness

You Asked: ''Should I Work Out Today If I'm Still Sore from Yesterday's Workout?''


It's common for beginners to experience muscle soreness that lasts for a week or two, just as seasoned exercisers will be sore after a tough workout. Yes, you should keep working out even though you are sore, but there is more to it than that. 

Muscle soreness has two primary causes. The first soreness you experience happens during your workout ("the burn") and should subside within a couple of hours. This is caused by lactic acid production. When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up. You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move and by doing light aerobic exercise (such as walking) after your workout. This is why cool-downs are so important, especially for beginners. The longer you cool down, the faster that lactic acid will leave the muscles (typically within an hour).

The type of muscle soreness you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles, resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio. This is normal. Again, beginners will be more sore and usually for longer, but if you really worked as hard as you should have during a weight-lifting session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two. 

This is where rest comes in. You absolutely must rest the muscles you worked for 1-2 days after a workout. Take at least one day off between strength training sessions, and if you are still very sore, take 2 days off. (This means from lifting, not from all exercise such as cardio). If you don't let your muscles recover and repair, they will continue to break down and you will actually get weaker. 

To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, be sure to: 
1. Always warm up for 5-10 minutes and cool down for at least 5 minutes. 
2. Stretch after a warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are already warm from some kind of light activity. 
3. Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of "actively recovering" with light exercise, you'll probably be sore longer. 
Posted 10/3/2012  12:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 4 comments   89,272 views
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Could Tart Cherry Juice Combat Muscle Soreness?


Six weeks from today, I, along with 11 of my fellow SparkPeople running pals of the Sparkin' Hood to Coast Team, will be participating in one of the most prestigious long distance relays in the world--The Hood to Coast Relay. The relay begins on the slopes of Mt. Hood at the Timberline Lodge and winds through the Oregon terrain until the last runner crosses the finish line 197 miles down the road in the town of Seaside.

Each runner is given three distinct legs of varying distances, averaging 16 total miles, to be completed within a 31 hour time limit. Participants are expected to provide their own food, water and other amenities. We will be sleeping in short shifts, riding in a van, or waiting at the transition point until it is our turn to run. And because there is little time for muscle recovery in between runs, it has been reported that some runners have been known to experience soreness and stiffness during this time.

So you may be wondering what tart cherry juice has do with running the Hood to Coast Relay?
Posted 7/21/2010  2:35:33 PM By: Nancy Howard : 133 comments   25,705 views
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Cup of Joe Eases Exercise Pains


For many morning exercisers, a cup of coffee is part of the pre-workout routine. It can help a person gather the energy to jump on the treadmill for a run instead of running back to bed. But according to a new study, coffee can also help lessen some of the pain of working out.
Posted 4/7/2009  6:16:26 AM By: Jen Mueller : 132 comments   3,950 views
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4 Tips to Avoid Exercise Burnout & Stick to Your Plan


January is one of the best times to be a fitness professional. My exercise classes are packed with participants, the gym is teeming with energy, and people have high spirits and good intentions to get fit. It's the second full week in January, and you're still going strong as you pursue your resolutions for the year. But one of the biggest mistakes that I see right now—from novice and seasoned exercisers alike—is overdoing it. Too much exercise—especially when combined with too little recovery—can hurt your efforts.

Recovery is just as important as the workout itself. Without proper rest, you will not get stronger, faster, or fitter. Why? Because when you rest, your muscles do two important things: repair (which helps them get stronger) and prepare (for future workouts by storing the food as muscle glycogen). When you skimp on the recovery time, your muscles tear and breakdown from your workouts, but don't have enough time to rebuild. But proper recovery benefits more than your muscles. Sometimes you need a mental break from working out just as much as you need a physical one. Without it, you risk burning out, which can get in the way of you reaching your goals. So how do you know if you're doing too much?
Posted 1/13/2009  8:13:41 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 51 comments   17,077 views
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The Benefits of Massage Therapy


What do you think of when you hear the word "massage"? Does it conjure up thoughts of a day out with your girlfriend at a swanky spa? Unlike days gone by, massages are becoming quite popular among athletes and non-athletes alike.

Until this past July, I was one of the few people who had never had a massage. When I developed a pain in my buttocks from a tight piriformis muscle from running and working tirelessly for weeks to get the muscle to loosen and the knots to release via stretching, foam rollers, etc, my running coach encouraged me to have a deep tissue sports massage.
Posted 11/1/2008  6:01:23 AM By: Nancy Howard : 144 comments   6,887 views
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Fitness Defined: Active and Passive Recovery


We'll all been there. You just started working out after a long hiatus. You feel proud and accomplished, but wake up the next day feeling so stiff, sore and achy that you don't want to get out of bed! You slowly but surely get on with your day, but every time you have to move, you feel that stiffness (and feel self-conscious as you wobble around, barely able to bend your knees). While it's great to know that you must have done something right for your muscles to be so sore, it certainly doesn't feel right! You wonder: Should I take it easy and skip my workout? The answer is a little more complex than a yes or no. What you should try is active recovery. So what does that mean?
Posted 10/28/2008  7:39:45 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 41 comments   19,162 views
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If Some is Good, More Must Be Better, Right?


Nine months ago while training for my first half-marathon I began experiencing issues with my sleep. That is, once I got to sleep, it was next to impossible to stay asleep. My appetite all but disappeared and most importantly I had lost my love for running. My mood was not too pleasant (just ask my husband), and I was becoming quite irritated with those around me, especially my running coach.

What in the world could be going on? My initial thought was the big M (you know, MENOPAUSE), but as I had not experienced any other symptoms, I thought peri-menopause? But my running coach had a whole different thought. He believed the symptoms I was experiencing were due to overtraining.
Posted 10/1/2008  6:05:01 AM By: Nancy Howard : 51 comments   4,018 views
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You Asked: Does Lack of Soreness Mean You Aren't Exercising Hard Enough?


SparkPeople member WESTENDGIRL75 recently asked this fitness question: "If I'm not sore the next day after a workout, does that mean I'm not working out hard enough? I used to get sore often, but now I [work] until I'm too tired to complete the exercises with good form, and I still don't get 'sore' then next day? Should I be pushing myself harder, or be happy that my body can handle it?"

Want to hear what I had to say?
Posted 8/22/2008  4:00:44 PM By: Nicole Nichols : 53 comments   30,612 views
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