Why are you sore after exercising?
So you have a great workout and a day or two later you’re really sore. What’s going in your muscles?
The cause of muscle soreness after exercise isn’t clear but most believe the cause to be microtears of the muscle fibers. It most often occurs after working out in a new or very strenuous manner. Another cause is believed to be heavy eccentric activity, which is controlled lengthening like lowering your arm during a bicep curl. This leads to an inflammatory response within the muscle. The concentric contraction, or traditional bicep curls of bending at your elbow, isn’t believed to increase symptoms of muscle soreness.
The typical symptoms are muscle stiffness and tenderness, which usually peak 24-48 after exercise, which is why it is clinically called “delayed onset muscle soreness” or DOMS. The good news is that it is temporary, typically lasting for 3 to 7 days.
Basic ways to alleviate these symptoms include active rest, like gentle activity, as well as stretching and heat or ice packs.
The best ways to prevent DOMS are to gradually increase exercise over time, instead of doing high intensity workouts you aren’t used to, and to warm up and cool down before and after exercise for about 10 minutes each. Knowing your exercise limits and training with a PT or athletic trainer, if necessary, can help strategize your workouts to avoid DOMS.
Branch S. The Treatment for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Livestrong website. https://www.livestrong.com/article/449573-the-treatment-for-delayed-onset-muscle-soreness/. September 11, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2017.
Moyle S. DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Physioworks website. http://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/doms-delayed-onset-muscle-soreness. August 10, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2017.