Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness – What Really Happens?

Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness – What Really Happens?

Muscle soreness or stiffness that occurs after you start a new workout or exercise plan shouldn’t be surprising if you are a workout freak. This stiffness happens day or two after you change your exercise routine, duration or intensity. New exercisers are not particularly impressed with muscle soreness especially if it becomes very painful.

Your Muscles Need Time to Adapt!
Generally, your muscles need time to adapt to changes in training. You will be surprised to know that muscle soreness is actually an active response and shows that your body is trying to adjust to the new routine. One important thing you need to remember is that muscle stiffness after exercise is never debilitating like an injury such as a muscle tear, sprain or strain. The muscle soreness you experience after starting a new exercise plan is worst for a couple of days and slowly subsides.

What Really Causes Muscles to Become Stiff?
Delayed muscle stiffness is thought to be caused by microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. Any exercise your muscles are not used to can become a potential reason for muscle soreness. The amount of stiffness interestingly depends on how hard and how long you exercise.

Switching to exercises such as squats, push-ups and lowering weights puts you at a higher risk of developing muscle stiffness. These movements cause your muscle to forcefully contract while it lengthens.

What can be done to Avoid Muscle Soreness?
1. Start your training or workout with low-impact exercises that help increase blood flow to your muscles. Also, make sure you perform cool-down stretches to deliver maximum blood and oxygen to your muscles after workout.

2. Studies show that a really quick massage may help reduce muscle stiffness after an intense exercise or training. The massage however has no effect on muscle function.

3. If you are not comfortable exercising with stiff muscle, take a break. This should help soreness go away without any special treatment.

4. Athletes and workout freaks also try cold showers and cold baths to feel good after an intense exercise and eliminate muscle soreness.

5. Prevention is better than cure so avoid making sudden changes in the type and duration of exercise you do.

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