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Monday, January 28, 2008

Soreness - Is it OK?

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photo by JustABigGeek

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Muscle soreness is common for people just starting out with an exercise program. The painful feeling that you get after a particularly hard exercise session is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS and is the result of tiny muscle tears. These muscle tears cause localized pain and inflammation. This is a normal phenomenon and is short-lived. After a week or two the discomfort will subside as your body becomes acclimated to your new regimen. How do you know if you are suffering from DOMS or doing something that may lead to an injury? Here are some pointers:

Normal

  • Discomfort peaks 2 days after the exercise that caused it
  • Dull pain with "stiffness" in the effected area
  • Discomfort is reduced by performing the same exercise that caused it, but at a lower intensity level
  • May be tender to the touch
Possible Injury
  • Any movement overwhelmingly painful
  • Bruising not caused by impact (could be a serious muscle tear)
  • Sharp, piercing pain
  • Tearing sound
  • Pain that worsens each exercise session
If you suspect that you do have an injury, it is prudent to lay off of exercising until it heals, or see a doctor. It is better to take off a day or two in the early stages of an injury, then to continue to increase the injury and be forced to stop exercising for weeks as a result. Listen to your body...if you need to take off a day or two, then do it. Just don't use that as an excuse to not start up again.

Getting sore never goes away completely, but as you progress beyond the beginning stages of an exercise program, it changes in nature. The intensity of the discomfort lessens and you will get accustomed to it. That being said, even experienced exercisers occasionally overdo it and end up on the sidelines.

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2 comments:

Bryan said...

Speaking of soreness, good luck on this weekend's 100 miler.

Fit Club Scott said...

Thanks. Yeah, I expect to have plenty of soreness come Sunday morning.