If you’re experiencing muscle soreness, you might be asking yourself if it’s ok to workout when sore. That is a very good question to be asking yourself. Let’s explore when you should workout and when you should rest. In addition, you need to consider what type of workout is conducive to working through muscle soreness.
Why Muscles Get Sore Post Workout
When you work out, especially if it is a new type of workout, muscle soreness should be expected. This is one reason newbies to a fitness regime are encouraged to take it easy right off the start. It is not uncommon for people to jump into a workout regiment, get super soreness that will last a couple of days, then have difficulty motivating themselves to get back into it.
When you workout, your body often experiences microscopic damage to the fibers. That results in a delay in the onset of the soreness, which will come anywhere from 24-48 hours post-workout.
Scientists believe the microtears that come with a workout couple with inflammation to cause the pain that commonly results. These aches and pains are actually proof that your body is benefiting from what you are doing.
Are Sore Muscles a Good Sign?
Unless the pain or discomfort is debilitating and you can’t even roll yourself out of bed to function, the sore muscles are most certainly a good sign! Having said that, you should not feel like you need to wear soreness like a badge of honor.
The old school no pain no gain philosophy is outdated. If you ease into your new workout regimen, you should be able to continue working out without too much physical discomfort.
How Do I Know If I’ve Gone Too Far?
Any soreness that lasts longer than two to three days is too much. If you are still sore five days post-workout, you likely have injured something. Simply put, you should be able to repeat the exercise three days after the initial workout. If you can’t, you’re overdoing it.
So Should I Work Out With Sore Muscles?
You certainly can work out with sore muscles. Although, it is smart to listen to your body. Athletes need to skirt a delicate balance between overdoing it and using soreness as an excuse (another plug for taking it easy when introducing something new into your workout routine!).
Did you know that a cooldown phase is a crucial component to your workout, and can help you with soreness? Whether you are biking, running, or engaging in some other type of workout – ending abruptly without cooling down is not in your best interest. Your muscles like to ease out of exercise just like the prefer easing into it!
What Kind of Workouts Are Good With Sore Muscles?
Many people ask, “Is it okay to workout when sore?” The answer is almost always yes! For runners, a gentle run can actually help you to deal with, and perhaps even eliminate, soreness. Just expect to ease into the run.
That first mile or so you may need to be patient with your body as it warms up. Oftentimes, after that initial warm-up period, you find your body getting into the groove of things.
Hopping on the bike is another good workout when experiencing sore muscles. Perhaps, if you are very sore, the entire workout will be a gentle ride. However, you may also find that if you start off slowly, just like in the run described above, your body may respond and you could pick up the pace a bit as the miles click by.
Swimming is another excellent choice. As a runner, gentle swimming is exceptional cross-training. The breaststroke in particular is 75% legs for forward propulsion. When experiencing sore muscles, hitting the pool for some easy breast stroking is an awesome choice.
If you aren’t an avid swimmer, you can use a kickboard to help keep your body afloat and just focus on working the kinks out of sore leg muscles!
Another excellent option for sore muscles is yoga. Too often we fail to consider the benefits of breathing and body focus, which are integral components of practicing yoga. Grab yourself a yoga mat and block, find a beginner yoga video online and give it a whirl!
How Sore is Too Sore to Workout?
Sure, the consensus is that you can workout when sore. But are you asking, “should I workout when sore?” While it is a deeply personal decision, most experts say yes. The worse thing you can do if you’re sore after a workout is sitting on the couch.
If you are experiencing severe soreness, think carefully about what type of exercise you will do. Don’t exercise the same body groups that are sore, in an intense manner. For example, if you are sore from squats and lunges, don’t even consider more squats and lunges for a few days.
As an athlete, you also need to learn to detect the difference between soreness and injury. Soreness seems to ease up a bit with some slow, steady movement. Injury is acute and does not improve.
If you’re sore, go ahead and try an easy workout. If you’re injured, that is an entirely different topic. Be smart.
Easing Aching Muscles
Stretching can certainly help to ease muscle soreness. Be careful not to engage in static stretching until the body is warm, however. That stretching they had us all do in physical education class prior to warming up our body? They can actually do more harm than good.
When stretching, always incorporate some dynamic moves early on. If you aren’t familiar with dynamic stretches you can hop on the bike or elliptical for some easy movement before starting to stretch.
A warm bath is another good way to ease aching muscles. For added benefit, you may consider adding [easyazon_link identifier=”B07NJPMVG9″ locale=”US” title=”Amazon Brand – Solimo Epsom Salt Soak” tag=”runnerclick02-20″ local-identifier-CA=”B07RPPB6YT” local-tag-CA=”runnerclickco-20″ local-identifier-CN=”B07NJPMVG9″ local-tag-CN=”runnerclick02-20″ local-identifier-FR=”B003V9PCQ4″ local-tag-FR=”runnerclick0a-21″ local-identifier-DE=”B0784C4ZPP” local-tag-DE=”runnerclick09-21″ local-identifier-IT=”B003V9PCQ4″ local-tag-IT=”runnerclick0e-21″ local-identifier-ES=”B0784C4ZPP” local-tag-ES=”runnerclick06-21″ local-identifier-UK=”B003V9PCQ4″ local-tag-UK=”runnerclick-21″]Epsom salt[/easyazon_link] to the warm bathwater. Many people enjoy scented epsom salts for added relaxation.
Very light exercise, such as walking, easy cycling, or swimming, can be good for easing sore muscles. Slow, gentle, dynamic movement can help with that discomfort.
Massage is another tool used to ease muscles. Certainly, a professional massage feels awesome. You can also use a foam roller to work out some of the kinks on your own.