A woman is holding her sore shoulder.
What helps with Muscle Soreness? Our Tips for Fitness Beginners
Congratulations on your decision to start your fitness journey! As a fitness beginner, you may experience the discomfort of muscle soreness after your initial workout. In this comprehensive blog article, you will learn all about muscle soreness: why it occurs, how to cope with it, and the measures you can take to prevent it. With the right knowledge and suitable strategies, you can enjoy your fitness start without the nuisance of muscle soreness.
Published ON
July 26, 2023

What is Muscle Soreness?

Muscle soreness is a common phenomenon that occurs after engaging in unfamiliar physical activities. It involves micro-tears in the muscle tissues due to the strain experienced during a workout. Particularly for newcomers to the gym or those who intensify their training sessions, muscle soreness and its associated discomfort may arise.

Why Does Muscle Soreness Occur?

Eccentric Muscle Loading

Muscle soreness often occurs when performing specific exercises that involve eccentric muscle loading. This means that the muscles are elongated during the exercise, such as during downhill running or eccentric movements in strength training.

Lactic Acid Accumulation

In the past, it was believed that lactic acid was responsible for muscle soreness. However, nowadays, we know that while lactic acid is produced in the muscles during exercise, it is not directly responsible for causing muscle soreness. Nonetheless, a high accumulation of lactic acid during training can lead to a temporary burning sensation in the muscles.

How Long Does Muscle Soreness Last?

Muscle soreness usually emerges within 24 to 48 hours after exercising and reaches its peak intensity within the first 24 hours. Most cases of muscle soreness subside within 3 to 5 days on their own. If the discomfort persists or is severe, it is advisable to consult a doctor to rule out other possible injuries.

A woman during a hard handbell workout.

Tips for Coping with Muscle Soreness

Gentle Movement

While it may be tempting to rest with severe muscle soreness, engaging in gentle movement can actually be helpful. Go for a walk or perform light stretching exercises to promote blood circulation and support recovery.

Massage

A gentle massage of the affected muscle groups can alleviate muscle soreness and improve blood flow. However, avoid applying excessive pressure, as it may intensify the pain.

Warm Baths or Compresses

Taking a warm bath or applying a warm, damp towel around the sore muscles can provide relief from muscle soreness.

How to Prevent Muscle Soreness?

Gradual Entry

Begin your fitness training slowly and gradually increase the intensity. Avoid pushing yourself too hard, especially if you are new to exercise.

Proper Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Ensure that you adequately warm up before training and cool down after the workout. Warm-up prepares your muscles for the exertion, while cooling down promotes blood circulation and may reduce muscle soreness.

Adequate Hydration

Drink enough water during exercise to support optimal muscle function and avoid dehydration.

Regular Training

By maintaining a consistent training routine, your muscles will adapt to the stress, and muscle soreness will occur less frequently.

Muscle soreness is a temporary side effect of fitness training, especially for beginners. It is essential to understand that muscle soreness is normal and typically not a cause for concern. With coping strategies and prevention measures, you can embrace your fitness journey without being hindered by muscle soreness. Stay motivated, listen to your body, and approach your training with caution. By doing so, you can maximize the long-term benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle. Best of luck on your fitness adventure!

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