There’s no doubt about it, after a tough day of exercise, your muscles can be sore the next day. People in Sacramento, CA, often forego exercise, while others go at it even harder. Which group is right? One important point is that you shouldn’t do intense exercise two days in a row. You need to allow any micro tears in the muscles to heal. It can be counterproductive. With that said, should you do moderate exercise or should you rest? That all depends on the level of pain you’re experiencing. If it’s extremely unbearable, seek medical attention. It could indicate a serious injury or condition.
Signs that tell you to take a rest may indicate an injury.
How do you know if the pain is unbearable or whether you’re overreacting? Think of it as the difference between sore muscles and jabbing pain. If you have an injury there’s often swelling, constant pain that you can’t relieve, black and blue marks, numbness, or tingling. If the pain is making you sick to your stomach or nauseous when you move, start with home medications like ice packs to reduce swelling. Do not exercise for a couple of days. If it doesn’t get better, or your symptoms are overwhelming, call your healthcare professional or go to an urgent care clinic.
Soreness can be relieved with exercise.
Don’t go to the gym and try to repeat the previous day’s workout, but don’t go to bed. Instead, do active recovery. Active recovery includes walking, swimming, or stretching exercises. If your legs hurt, work on your upper body and vice versa. Mild exercise increases circulation, sending healing nutrient-dense and oxygen-rich blood to the painful area. It’s a form of therapy for sore muscles.
Soreness signals the body it’s getting stronger and is different from pain.
Soreness means you’re doing something right. You’re stressing your muscles to help them adapt and become stronger. Soreness indicates healing and building new muscle tissue. Intense pain that starts several days after you workout is called delayed onset muscle soreness—DOMS. It’s a sign you need to give your muscles a few days of rest. It goes away but takes more time than traditional soreness. Any pain that lasts more than five days needs attention from a healthcare professional.
- Whether or not you have pain after working out, don’t do the same exercise routine every day. Alternate your workout so you work different body parts or do different types of fitness workouts.
- Don’t be afraid of soreness. It’s a sign that you’re making progress. Sore muscles are often the cause of quitting exercise when it’s a positive sign that you’re making progress.
- One study found that soaking in a hot tub can help DOMS. It boosts circulation. A long hot shower or bath can also be helpful. Combine a hot soak, active recovery, and a massage to bring quicker relief.
- To prevent and help heal muscle pain, eat a healthy diet that provides adequate protein, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid food with added sugar, highly processed, or salty food. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down after a workout.
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