Anyone who exercises will probably experience soreness afterwards at some time or other, but should you battle on through the pain next time you want to workout?
No pain, no gain
We’ve all heard the expression ‘no pain, no gain’, so does this mean that you won’t make strides with your exercise goals unless you plough on through muscular aches and pains?
Most experts reckon you should give your body time to heal if it’s feeling sore after exercise, but there’s actually some truth to the ‘no pain, no gain’ mantra.
Post-exercise pain is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. It usually rears its head around eight hours after exercise and can peak at around 24-72 hours before subsiding. Soreness normally disappears completely within a week.
DOMS is generally nothing to worry about and is the result of small tears in muscles that occur after exercise. These tears need a day or two to heal, and it’s usually during this rest period that muscle growth occurs – hence the ‘no pain, no gain’ theory. Having said that, researchers haven’t found any correlation between the level of DOMS and the extent of muscle growth, so just because you don’t experience pain post-exercise doesn’t mean to say you aren’t gaining any mass.
It’s not inevitable you’ll always experience soreness after a workout. DOMS tends to affect those new to exercising or a particular workout, or who’ve taken a break from keeping fit. But factors such as genetics and age may also play a part in how sore you feel after workouts. As a general rule, if you exercise frequently and perform adequate warm-ups, stretches and cool-down poses, you’re less likely to feel sore afterwards.
Exercising when sore
Should you carry on exercising if your muscles ache? To allow complete recovery and aid muscle growth, you should rest the affected area for a day or two. This is especially the case if you’ve reached your physical limit. Targeting painful muscles through continued exercise may result in incorrect posture or technique, further pain and even injury, halting muscle growth and meaning more time away from the gym.
However, that doesn’t mean to say you should stop exercising altogether if you experience DOMS. Instead, focus on training other parts of the body that aren’t sore, or opt for lighter intensity exercises, such as yoga, pilates or walking. Varying your routine, reps or movements is useful for allowing sore muscles to recover, but it also ensures that you aren’t neglecting other parts of the body when working out.
There’s not a great deal you can do to speed up DOMS, but a regular, soothing massage or a warm bath can take the edge off aching muscles.
Bear in mind that if you feel pain, and the affected area is swollen or bruised, this may be more than just DOMS and could indicate an actual muscular injury. In which case, get it examined by a professional before you start exercising again.
Allowing your body a short period of time to recover post-exercise soreness is a great way to keep muscle growth on track, but for further body honing assistance, why not take a look at the wide range of superior quality products available at Worldwide Anabolics?