Muscles sore? Do not stop exercising
Late-onset muscle pain usually means that your muscles get stronger
By Barbara Russi Sarnataro
Weight Loss Clinic WebMD – Feature
Starting a training program can be challenging. Making the time to exercise, create a balanced routine and set goals is difficult enough, but to this is added the muscle pain that comes with adapting to that regimen, and it can be hard to stay on track.
Most likely, do not jump out of bed to go to the gym when it hurts to raise your arm to brush your teeth.
After participating in some type of strenuous physical activity, particularly something new for your body, it is common to experience muscle pain, experts say.
"Muscles suffer some physical stress when we exercise," says Rick Sharp, professor of exercise physiology at Iowa State University in Ames.
"Mild pain is just the natural result of any type of physical activity," he says. "And they are more frequent in the early stages of a program."
Late onset muscle pain
Exercise physiologists refer to the discomfort that gradually increases between 24 and 48 hours after the activity, such as late onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and is perfectly normal.
"Late-onset muscle pain (DOMS) is a common result of physical activity that stresses muscle tissue beyond what you're used to," says David O. Draper, professor and program director graduate in sports medicine / athletic training at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
To be more specific, says Draper, who is also a member of the heat-sensitive pain council, late-onset muscle pain occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric or elongation contraction. Examples of this would be running downhill or the lengthening portion of a bicep curl.
"Small microscopic tears occur in the muscle," he says.
The slight injury due to muscle tension creates microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. Scientists believe that this damage, along with the inflammation that accompanies these tears, causes pain.
"The aches and pains must be minor," says Carol Torgan, exercise physiologist and member of the American College of Sports Medicine, "and they are simply indications that the muscles are adapting to their fitness regime."
Even bodybuilders get them
Nobody is immune to muscle pain. Both neophytes and exercise bodybuilders experience delayed onset muscle pain.
"Anyone can have cramps or DOMS, from weekend warriors to elite athletes," says Torgan. "Muscle discomfort is simply a symptom of using your muscles and putting pressure on them, which leads to adaptations to make them stronger and more capable of performing the task next time."
But for the person who is in the process of deconditioning, this can be intimidating. People who start an exercise program need guidance, says Torgan.
"The big problem is with people who are not very fit and go out and try these things, everyone gets excited when they start a new class and the instructors do not tell them they can be sore," she says.
"For them they can feel very hurt, and because they are not familiar with them, they can worry about hurting themselves, so they will not want to do it again."
Letting them know it's okay to be in pain can help them get through those early days without getting discouraged.
Relieve sore muscles
So, what can you do to relieve the pain?
"Exercise physiologists and athletic trainers have not yet discovered a panacea for DOMS," says Draper, "however, several remedies such as ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, massage, heat and stretching have all been reported. as useful in the recovery process. "
"There are all kinds of different little ways that your muscles can take to get stronger."
Stretching and flexibility are underestimated, says Sharp.
"People do not stretch enough," he says. "Stretching helps break the cycle," ranging from pain to muscle spasm to contraction and tension.
Take it easy for a few days while your body adapts, says Torgan. Or try a light exercise like walking or swimming, he suggests. Keeping the muscle moving can also provide some relief.
"Probably, the most important thing is to have a cooling phase after your workout," says Draper. Just before finishing, include 10 or more minutes of "simple aerobic work such as jogging or walking followed by stretching."
At Brigham Young, Draper has been investigating the use of heat remedies to treat muscle pain. In the clinical trials, a heat wrap activated by portable air, in this case a product called ThermaCare, applied directly on the skin was beneficial for the subjects.
"When the muscle temperature increases, blood flow increases, bringing fresh oxygen and healing nutrients to the injured site," he says. "This increased blood flow also helps eliminate the irritating chemicals responsible for the pain."
While you are in pain, do not wait to establish personal records. Most likely, during a DOMS attack, your exercise potential is out of your reach, says Draper. Late-onset muscle pain usually affects only the parts of the body that were worked on, so you may be able to work on other muscle groups while letting the fatigued recover.
In a few words, do not punish yourself. Just relax.
"Given that there is a loss in muscle strength, athletic performance will not be at peak levels for a few days," says Torgan, "so it's best to plan a few days of easy exercise to prevent further muscle damage and reduce the likelihood of of injuries. "
Do not get into a routine
It is also a process of muscle conditioning. Torgan says that late-onset muscle pain also has an effect of "repeated episodes."
"If someone does an activity, they will be inoculated for a few weeks to a few months, the next time they do the activity, there will be less damage to the muscle tissue, less pain and a faster recovery of strength."
This is the reason why athletes often train and vary their routines to continue to challenge and develop their muscular strength.
It is important to distinguish the difference between moderate muscle pain induced by exercise and excessive use or muscle injury.
"If pain prevents you from performing the daily activities associated with life and work, then that's too much pain," says Draper. "It can psychologically dissuade someone from continuing a training program."
Both Draper and Torgan emphasize that pain is not necessary to see improvements.
"There are all kinds of different little ways that your muscles can take to strengthen themselves," says Torgan. Regardless of whether you are sore, there are still improvements in the muscles during exercise.
However, moderate muscle pain can do a lot to keep someone on the road to fitness.
"Pain can serve as a stimulus in an exercise program because people like immediate results. The muscle can not be seen [grow] overnight; his time in the mile is reduced from eight to six minutes, "says Draper." So, something like pain can encourage people to actually work the muscle. "
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