Sometimes, no matter how careful you are about warm-ups, stretching, and proper form, soreness will happen. It usually strikes the morning after a workout, or about 24 hours afterward. At this point you might wonder if it’s safe to exercise, or if you should take a day off.
When you work your muscles, you can develop very tiny tears in the tissues. These tears don’t actually hurt, but once the the resulting inflammation sets in, you will begin to feel stiffness or pain. Exercise will actually help you to reduce the inflammation, by increasing blood flow to the area, bringing fresh nutrients and oxygen, and pumping out metabolic waste products. So yes, in most cases some activity is desirable even when you’re sore.
If the soreness is very mild, it is usually okay to proceed with your workout plans, perhaps with slight modifications. When soreness is more severe, however, follow these steps.
Check for injuries. Are you injured, or just very sore? It can be difficult to know for sure. If you suspect an injury, go to the doctor right away. Otherwise, proceed with the next steps outlined below.
Perform lighter activity. If you’re sore from running, go for a walk instead. If weight lifting triggered your soreness, use much lighter resistance or just body weight.
Use recovery moves and stretches. Activities like basic arm hangs, high-knee marches, hip rocks, baby crawls, and leopard crawls can help. Also, yoga poses such as downward dog and cow-cat can relieve soreness and encourage healing.
Be mindful of form. When you’re in pain, you might be less likely to follow proper alignment techniques during exercise. This can lead to serious injury, so pay extra attention to form during your recovery period.
Avoid further strain. If anything makes the pain worse, you don’t want to do it. And of course, avoid long runs or serious weight lifting when you’re very sore.
As always, come see us before beginning a exercise or weight loss plan, so that we can screen you for any underlying issues that can cause problems. We can also offer nutritional advice to support your fitness goals, and help you overcome a weight loss plateau.