exercising with sore muscles, it can be done
All thanks to my new-found fitness motivation, I have really been switching up my workouts lately. Going to a gym has inspired me to try out the fancy new equipment and check out classes I’ve never done before, so this challenge to my body has definitely left me sore. My muscles are truly shocked and awed. Call it fitness-junkie psychosis, but I feel so content when I wake up and feel soreness in the muscles I worked the day before. That means that whatever I’m doing is working and results should be on their way!
This particular soreness is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (commonly abbreviated to DOMS, for those who spend a lot of time listening to the meathead chatter on the gym floor). It is the result of the tiny muscle tears that happen while you exercise–in about 24 to 48 hours after your intense session, the muscles mildly inflame and the body gets to work healing the tears and building more muscle. This causes that ouch! ooh! yowsa! you feel the day after a bootcamp class, vinyasa practice, sprint workout on the track, spin class…
For the fitness fanatics, you probably wonder Can I exercise on sore muscles? You’re likely riding that high of a tough workout from the day before and want to continue the party. Well good news: it’s a fine idea to exercise with sore muscles, but only if you can swing it. If anything is dangerously sore, or hurts to the touch, keep resting. You need full range of motion in all body parts in order to exerciseand avoid injury, so if you are limited in range, hold off on a sweat session. You’ll be happy you did.
If every body part is moving as scheduled but you still feel a bit sore, it’s totally fine (and actually helpful) to get blood flowing with some light cardio or resistance training and follow the exercise session with light stretching to get those muscles a healin’. The blood flow to the muscles is vital because it helps to remove the waste products in your muscles at a faster rate. This translates into a speedier overall recovery, so then you can quickly get back out there and keep on grinding!
The one caveat, because there’s always a caveat, is that you must really listen to your body when it comes to soreness and recovery. If you find that you’re waking up each morning feeling tired, or your heart feels like it’s pounding or racing, you gotta dial back on the workouts. If your day is super sluggish and you can’t concentrate on the task at hand, you need rest. Pushing yourself too hard on a sore body can lead to injury. There’s no shame in taking rest days, everyone needs them. Good excuse to catch up on your overflowing DVR!
I admit, I’m a little bit of both when it comes to soreness and exercise. Some days I’m like “Yeah! Elliptical time! Shake out those aches!” and then other days I’m all “Wellllll, I did do a good workout yesterday, and I’ve been meaning to re-watch the first season of The Hills on Netflix…Lauren Conrad would say I’m worth it! No gym for me!” Everything in moderation, right?!
When you’re sore from a workout, do you have the motivation to go work it out the next day? Are you more comfortable with waiting it out and letting the achey tide roll out?