Muscles feeling feverish? Don’t panic just yet.
When you begin a new workout regimen, or step up your current one, you may be wondering about the different types and times of muscle soreness your body is going through.
There is a big difference between the soreness you feel during a workout and after.
As you are working out, you’re muscles are being RUSHED!
Blood and oxygen are flooding your muscles faster than waste ( such as lactic acid) is removed. This process causes your muscles to “pump up” and become swollen and a little sore.
This is normal! Be sure to stay in tune with your body when you are working out. Everyone is different, and only you can tell what the appropriate level is. There is a major difference between soreness and pain…and depending on YOU, it may be a fine line. Recognize how you are feeling and don’t confuse the two.
It is great to push yourself to the next level, but remember….. don’t over do it! Pulling a muscle or injuring yourself in another way can require days or weeks of rest. Exerting yourself too much could actually cause you to back peddle in your workouts.
Wondering what may soften the immediate pump or burn? Helping some of the lactic acid out of your muscle can help.
You could try massaging or “rolling” your muscles with a foam roller (can be found in most sports stores, or even Target). If you have a helper, or can reach the spot such as your legs, even a rolling pin from your kitchen will do. Be creative 🙂
Now that we got that out of they way, why in the heck are you feeling even MORE sore after your workout? The peak soreness can occur days (typically 12-24 hours) after your session. It can last up to 5 days!
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is what experts dubbed this madness. Just when you thought you’ve massaged out all that lactic acid and you are good to go, you body starts to tell you otherwise! OUCH!
DOMS usually makes it’s appearance due to one of the following reasons:
You’ve tried a new workout, which targets muscles that you haven’t been working recently.
You’ve just completed a high intensity workout or exercise that pushed your muscles to the limit.
A few factors come into play when experiencing DOMS. When you workout, you are actually tearing your muscle fibers. Don’t be alarmed; this is normal and necessary! The tears are microscopic, and heal within a few days. This is how we build and grow our muscles. The temporary damage you do to your muscles varies with how long you worked out and which exercises were performed. Eccentric muscle contractions seem to produce the most soreness.
Some examples of exercises that cause eccentric muscle contractions (when your muscles contract WHILE they lengthen) include things like:
Running downhill, walking down stairs, and lowering your body into squats, lunges, or push-ups.
Here are a few tips to help you through DOMS:
Your body is asking for a break! Don’t forget to schedule in a recovery period. You need time for those muscle fibers to heal before you go tearing them up again. You body is amazing, and always has a way of telling you what it needs. Listen to it!
2. Low Intensity Exercise
Switching to a lighter exercise, such as walking, can help to promote circulation to your sore muscles. You should be warming up and cooling down before and after each session. Stick to those light exercises for a few days until your muscles repair.
3. Anti-inflammatory Meds
Taking an over the counter painkiller, such as aspirin or ibprofen may give you relief.
4. Ice Bath
OK, OK, we don’t have to be that extreme! I cringe thinking of submerging in ice! EEK! But an ice pack or cold compress can definitely help out. 🙂
For extreme soreness, you may want to elevate your muscles. The key is to elevate above your heart, so this method will work well with your limbs.
Swelling can also be the culprit for discomfort. Again, this can be helped by careful stretching and massaging/rolling.
You could even use a balm to help relieve muscles. Tiger balm is one of my favorites, and can be found at any pharmacy.
Know your limits! It is great to push yourself to beat your own personal records, but stay safe. Listen to your body, it knows what’s best for you!
……Dedicated to my favorite little worrier. Your pump is normal…promise!