Whether you are still going strong with your resolution to exercise or just beginning an exercise program, the goal should be the same, to make gains without putting yourself out for a few days. With reality weight-loss shows putting participants …
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Whether you are still going strong with your resolution to exercise or just beginning an exercise program, the goal should be the same, to make gains without putting yourself out for a few days. With reality weight-loss shows putting participants through extremes, it's difficult for viewers to believe that results can come from anything other than the "No Pain, No Gain" approach.
After a good workout, you should feel pumped and even more energetic. You may feel ready to conquer the next workout. That is, until you wake up the next morning barely able to sit or lift your arms over your head. Feeling sore the next day after a really challenging workout or even after you are starting a new exercise routine is normal. During exercise, microscopic tears occur in your muscle fibers, causing an inflammatory response as the damaged muscles repair. This can cause pain during the recovery process anywhere from 24 hours after activity and lasting up to seven days.
While this may seem unnerving, it is actually a good thing for the body. With any new exercise or activity, muscle soreness is most likely to occur. This process allows your muscles to become stronger and helps them adapt to the activity so the next time you are less likely to be sore or experience a long recovery time.
But without muscle damage, your muscles won't grow or get stronger.
When your muscles are sore, it is important to rest. Exercising with sore muscles can delay recovery and increase risk of injury. Gentle movements such as walking and stretching may actually help make muscle fibers more fibrous. However, extreme soreness can be dangerous and be counterproductive. When muscles are sore, they leak proteins from their cells into the blood stream and can impair kidney function. So it's important to progress slowly and stay well-hydrated to prevent protein buildup in the blood.
Although taking anti-inflammatories can make you feel better, there is very little you can do to prevent muscle soreness or to recover faster. Experts recommend following these steps to reduce muscle soreness:
- Warm up with cardio and range of motion work to get the blood flowing throughout muscles and joints;
- Be sure to consume fruits, vegetables, proteins and starchy carbohydrates to support muscle repair;
- Stretch after each exercise session; and
- See a physician if any pain lingers after seven days or returns with light exercise.
Missy Corrigan is executive of community health for Sumter Family YMCA. She can be reached at email@example.com or (803) 773-1404.
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