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Why am I sore after exercise?

CorePEWhy am I sore after exercise?

In order to become fitter we need to challenge our bodies to achieve new things so that changes can occur. Each individual’s threshold for activity will be different depending on a range of factors such as current fitness level, strength, range of motion and age. As our fitness improves so our threshold will progressively increase. However, as we challenge our bodies it is usual to experience some muscle soreness, which can be uncomfortable but is totally normal. It is a sign of some small, safe damage to the challenged muscle fibres and the muscles responding by actually remodelling and becoming stronger and more efficient.

This type of soreness after exercise is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and many people worry about whether what they are experiencing is a problem. It is obviously important to be able to distinguish between DOMS and pain that should concern us. 

DOMS occurs specifically as the result of challenging a muscle with exercise. Usually one to two days after exercising, soreness will be felt in the belly of the muscle. It can be quite tender to touch and there can be a dull tight achy feeling that tends to be spread out over a large area and the muscle feels tired or burning while exercising. It can last for 2-3 days. Usually the soreness will be considerably reduced after a second session of the same exercise because of the adaptive changes in the muscle and often will not reoccur until we push ourselves to the next level.

DOMS tends to improve with stretching and gentle moving and feels worse with sitting still. DOMS should not put us off exercising! 

Pain that could be of concern comes in many forms. It can include pain in the joint (such as the knee or ankle) rather than the muscle or pain that shoots from one area to another. You should get these kind of pains checked out. If a pain is sudden or sharp or recurrent then you should stop what you are doing and get it checked out.

Part of the joy of what we do at Core Wellness is that the multi-disciplinary team of Chiropractors, Sports Massage Therapists and Personal Trainers can assess you holistically and work together to ensure that you are able to improve your strength and mobility in a way that is appropriate for you. You might occasionally get DOMS after a session in the gym with our Personal Trainers but you will know that your strength and fitness are improving! 

Written by Jennie Chapman

Personal Trainer

Core Wellness Centres - Epsom


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