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Should You Workout if You’re Sore?
You had a great workout yesterday, you pushed hard. You made progress. Then, today, you’re sore and everything hurts. Should you still tackle today’s workout if you’re sore?
So you’re achy and a little sore, this is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS, for short), and it means your muscles experienced tiny tears as they rose to the challenge you gave them during your workout yesterday. During the repair process that follows, they’ll become stronger. This is what is causing the soreness that you are feeling today and it will typically disappear within the next day or so. This type of soreness can actually be helped with some light exercise, such as some light cardio, stretching or yoga.
If your muscles actually hurt to the touch, you might want to just take the day off completely to avoid over training and risking injury. Learning to distinguish between the two types of pain is important: pain from muscle soreness and pain from injury. It’s not always clear which is which, so err on the side of caution until you know the difference. There is no absolute way to tell, but if your soreness lessens as you warm-up, there’s a very good chance you’re dealing with DOMS and not an injury. Increasing pain doesn’t necessarily mean you’re injured, but it means you shouldn’t exercise that day. If this doesn’t change in a day or two, injury is likely and you should see a professional. DOMS always improves over time.
Stretching after your workout will also help reduce the amount of soreness that you will feel. Don’t stretch your muscles when cold, as you’ll risk injuring them further. Adding an extra 10 minutes after you work out, can do wonders. Take the extra time to get in a good stretch. Also, easy movements and stretches night before bed and again first thing in the morning helps your blood circulate better and will also improve your recovery time.
Don’t forget your foam roller! You can help reduce soreness with self massage through foam rolling. You don’t have to go to a masseuse; self-massage is a great tool to aid recovery. The only time you don’t want to massage your muscles is right after you work out because you will interfere with the natural recovery process. But at any other time, just five minutes of self-massage can do wonders.
For more tips for reducing muscle soreness, read 8 Tips to Prevent Muscle Soreness.
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