18 Feb 2017
I am too sore for exercise!
I am too sore to exercise, I need rest! Sound familiar?
Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of "actively recovering" with light exercise, you'll probably be sore longer.
Muscle soreness has two primary causes. The first soreness you experience happens during your workout ("the burn") and should subside within a couple of hours. This is caused by lactic acid production. When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up. You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move with light exercise at a slower pace (such as walking) after your workout. You should always cool down and stretch after a workout, the longer your cool down the less likely you will ache.
The type of muscle soreness you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles, resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio. This is normal. Again, beginners will be more sore and usually for longer, but if you really worked as hard as you should have during your session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two.
It's common for beginners to experience muscle soreness that lasts for a week or two, just as seasoned exercisers will be sore after a tough workout. Yes, you should keep working out even though you are sore, it will actually help those aches and pains. This said rest days are important and beginners should take 3-4 days rest per week, intermediates take 2-3 days and advanced take 1-2 days. This however is completely down to each individual and the intensity and effort you put in. I personally take very little rest days perhaps only 1 day per week, this is because I like to train for short periods of around 15 - 20 minutes each day (but push myself to the limit) and perhaps for 1 or 2 days I have a longer session. You can see amazing results in as little time as 10 minutes a day as long as you put the effort in.
To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, be sure to:
1. Always warm up for 5-10 minutes and cool down for at least 5 minutes.
2. Stretch after a warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are already warm from some kind of light activity.
3. Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of "actively recovering" with light exercise, you'll probably be sore longer.