There is always some pain related to the ultimate pleasure of being fit. The truth is, if you want to be fit, you are going to spend some time feeling sore. This is because if you are doing your workouts correctly, and pushing your muscles to become stronger, you are occasionally going to be sore. So, should you workout with sore muscles?
This soreness also called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is quite common, especially for those new in exercise and those that are returning after a long break. DOMS is caused by muscle micro tearing which helps build muscles and make them stronger. This discomfort can cause people to avoid exercise until it has stopped for fear of escalating the pain.
The upshot? You can still workout with sore muscles. DOMS is not an excuse to stay at home.
Here’s what to do instead:
1. Keep working out to increase blood circulation.
This is also called recovery workout. It increases circulation instead of forming micro tears in the muscles which cause soreness. When muscle temperature is increased, blood circulation increases, supplying the sore muscles with oxygen. Therefore, you should keep working out, but take it easy for a few days.
DOMS only affect the body parts that are worked. So for example, if your legs are sore, you can work out the upper parts of the body. Alternate your workouts.
Also, you can ease those aching muscles by doing some cardio, yoga or stretching.
2. Distinguish good soreness from severe pain.
There is a difference between muscle soreness caused by exercise, and injury. Those two are not always clear to most people. If your soreness prevents you from performing your daily activities, that’s too much soreness. It might be an injury. Usually, soreness lasts between 48 to 72 hours. If the pain doesn’t disappear in 72 hours, visit a professional.
3. Avoid premedication prior to your workout.
Some people take painkillers before a workout to be able to go farther than they should. You should understand how your body reacts to exercise. Painkillers might help you work out more and that might lead to an injury. If you experience pain as a result of muscle soreness after a workout, that’s when you should take painkillers or other anti-inflammatory pills.
4. Consume proteins after your workout.
Proteins increase muscle mass and help the muscles heal quickly. It is therefore recommended to eat proteins or take recovery drinks that contain proteins after a workout.
Protein shakes are one of the best things you can consume directly after your workout.
5. Stay hydrated before and after your workout.
A lack of electrolytes can cause muscle soreness. Ensure that you’re adequately hydrated by taking drinks that are easily digested to power up and avoid stomach upsets. Drinking water before, during, and after your workouts will help with soreness and recovery.
Hydration is not only important in dealing with sore muscles, but also very important to muscle development and increasing strength. Learn more about the best ways to hydrate.
6. Use ice after your workout.
If you’ve ever watched any athletes’ interviews, you have noticed that they like to ice their body parts. This is because ice reduces pain and inflammation. It also increases blood circulation – ice causes blood vessels to contract and then open up as they get used to it.
Muscle soreness is inevitable; you should focus on recovery exercises such as swimming or walking after a workout. Recovery exercises will help you recover quickly. However, if the pain persists, rest or visit a professional for help if you think it’s an injury.
So if you’re wondering…should you workout with sore muscles? It’s probably OK as long as your muscles are not painfully sore, and the soreness is not the result of an injury.