If you wake up the next day after working out and feel like you’ve been part of an assault. Every muscle in your body hurts and even talking seems to cause pain. That may be an exaggeration, but for the person who just started a workout program, it’s very real and painful! Should you workout when you’re sore or take a week off of exercise until your muscles feel better? You first have to judge whether what you’re feeling is normal. If it is, it should go away in a day or two. In the meantime, there are some ways to exercise.
There are benefits to active recovery.
Active recovery means moving and getting your blood flowing. If you’re not too sore, stretching those muscles actually feels good. A little cardio, such as walking or swimming can definitely help improve circulation and help you feel better quicker. Don’t overdo it. If you want to do resistance training, use light weights. Do some resistance band training. Studies show that resistance band training helped with recovery of DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness—as much as a ten minute massage did.
Which muscles ache?
If you had a tough upper body workout, focus on your lower body and visa versa. You’ll get all the benefits of working out without taking the chance of exacerbating the pain. If you’ve been training hard lately and find you’re constantly fatigued, have a compromised immune system, insomnia, mood changes, an increased resting heart rate or decreased appetite, you may be overtraining. Then it’s time to take a few days off and allow yourself to fully recover.
When is soreness something you should worry about.
There’s a big difference between soreness and pain. Soreness and discomfort normally will feel better in two to three days. Soreness isn’t sharp pain that causes nausea or pain that keeps you up for days. It doesn’t cause numbness or black and blue marks or cause you to lose function in the area. If you have those symptoms, don’t exercise but seek medical attention, especially if ice packs or aspirin don’t help. It could be a serious injury.
- The best way to deal with DOMS or soreness is to avoid it. Make sure you have both a warm-up and cool-down every session. A cool down can be things like a gentle walk or a ride on a stationary bike and should last five to ten minutes.
- You can use stretching exercises or even yoga to help recover from soreness. There are many yoga positions that help you stretch your muscles without causing further injury.
- Using a foam roller after a workout can help reduce any muscle tension and aid in protecting you from soreness.
- The key way to avoid soreness is always to go slowly when starting something new. Start with low intensity and gradually increase it.