Have you ever rolled out of bed in the morning wondering why you feel so sore after a hard workout?  

Increasing the intensity of your workout or doing something new often feels good in the moment but after can be another story. If you’re waking up with sore muscles after a long ride, day on the slopes, intense workout or a new workout, chances are you are experiencing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). 

What is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?

Many people believe the soreness results from a build up of lactic acid in the muscles but it is actually a side affect of the healing process. Doing a strenuous workout whether it’s something new or a higher intensity workout can damage the muscle fibers involved in the exercise. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about unless the pain and swelling persists longer than 72 hours.

What are the symptoms?

A burning sensation is how we would describe it. However, The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reports that there are numerous symptoms including swelling of the effected limbs, stiffness of the joint accompanied by temporary reduction in the joint’s range of motion, tenderness to the touch and temporary reduction in strength. In rare and severe cases, the CK enzyme is the blood may become elevated or the kidneys may be at risk.

What can you do about it?

According to the ACSM you can reduce the symptoms with ice pack application, massage, acupuncture and pain relief medications but the best thing to do is rest. Give your muscles a chance to recover by doing light activity or nothing. Some believe that eating more protein after working out can also help repair the muscles too but don’t over do it.

Is No Pain – No Gain a health motto to live by?

Soreness is hard to avoid if you like mixing things up or challenging yourself, but pain isn’t necessary to achieve fitness gains. Eccentric loading of the muscle is needed to increase the size of the muscle but is not needed to increase strength.

It’s easy to get carried away with exercise if you’re trying to keep up to with a group, slim down for a special occasion or prove that you’ve still got it, but the best thing you can do is listen to your body and keep these tips in mind:

1. If you’re feeling pain while doing a workout stop. Acute pain is usually indicative that something is wrong with your form or technique and will only get worse.

2. If you haven’t worked out in a while ease back into it. Living an active healthy life is a way of life so take it one step at a time.

3. If you need to prepare for an event quickly hire a trainer who can help your achieve whatever you need to do safely. Be good to your body and it will be good to you.