Why Am I So Sore?

sore-musclesProbably like everyone else, I go through phases where I’ll pursue a certain exercise for a while before I return to my regular routine. Maybe there is something new at the gym or maybe you are out of town and are doing/using what is available at your new location meaning different.

Changing it up is actually a great thing! It tricks the body causing muscle confusion and whipping it out of its status quo helping you achieve results–um a good thing, right. Maybe it is a new exercise format or going longer or increasing intensity. Whatever it is, have you noticed an unpleasant feeling or sensation a few hours later? Didn’t know you had muscles there! Or OMG, I am extremely sore!

Why Am I So Sore?

You definitely feel it. Your muscles are sore and maybe a little stiff anywhere from 12 – 72 hours from doing the exercise. Apparently the eccentric or lengthening phase of muscle contraction is to blame as it causes the most soreness. Isometric or static (like staying in a yoga pose) causes much less muscle soreness. And then concentric or shortening phase actually doesn’t cause muscle soreness. (Guess what, you can’t avoid eccentric contraction. It’s going to happen).

Experts will tell you that the soreness is due to micro tears in the muscle that was exercised. Additionally, I recently read that after muscle tearing, calcium collects in the muscle which in turn contributes to inflammation and also pain because histamine, prostaglandins, and potassium accumulation. I used to hear it was all due to lactic acid. Now apparently that is no longer an accepted explanation because lactic acid isn’t present hours later when the soreness occurs.

How to Feel Better/Treatment:

Do anything that increases blood flow to that sore area! Choices might be low intensity work like walking, slow and gentle stretching or yoga, massage (even as little as 10 minutes), hot tub or sauna visits, or even taking a hot bath. You can also take Ibuprofen which will help with the inflammation and pain. And then you could do the hot/cold treatment. Try alternating ice for 15 minutes and a heating pad for 15 minutes.

Overall, these strategies will help you feel better. Notice that I didn’t say do nothing. Now as you return to the exercise, you’ll find that muscle soreness is less intense than the first time. The reason is because your muscles are getting stronger.

I personally like to alternate intense days with a lighter day. My lighter days might consist of taking a long walk or doing the step mill for 30 minutes and always followed up by yoga. Whatever you do, don’t stop!

~Namaste,

Kristen

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4 Responses to Why Am I So Sore?

  1. Great tips! My ultimate fav is an epsom salt bath! It makes my muscles feel divine!!!

  2. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more
    than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental
    and all. But think about if you added some great visuals
    or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content
    is excellent but with images and video clips, this
    site could undeniably be one of the greatest in its field. Excellent blog!

    • kwarren1970 says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. Most definitely. Earlier, I had pictures, but actually ran out of media space. I need to purchase more and I plan too soon. I also want originally photos more so than something borrowed from the web. As for videos, I too plan on those as well, but I’m a perfectionist and want them to be great. That takes a lot of prep work. It’s on my bucket list. 🙂

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