What Causes Soreness?

By Sarah – December 30, 2011

We’ve all had those days (usually the day after a tough workout) where we wake up pretty sore, sometimes it’s even hard to move. So what is it that cause our muscles to scream at every flex?

DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, is a natural process the body goes through after an intense workout (normally hitting it’s peak 24-48 hours after exercise). The inevitable sore sensation we feel following intense exercise is due to microscopic tears in our muscles that develop during shortening and lengthening of our muscles when working out. While saying “tears in your muscle” sounds a little scary, it is completely normal and just part of our body’s adaptation process. Even though muscle soreness is normal and even expected, you shouldn’t be feeling it daily. Our bodies need time to repair the small tears, so it’s always wise to not increase weights or activity for a few days if you’re sore.

If you want to get stronger, faster, etc. we may have to endure this feeling every once in a while as we build up our workouts, but it’s important that you gradually increase exercise and intensity so as not to get hurt. See the 10% rule if you’re not sure if you’re progressing at the right rate. Warm ups, cool downs and stretching are also a good way to help reduce muscle soreness. Certain soreness or muscle pain could be a sign of injury, so if it doesn’t subside within a week you should call your doctor.


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