You might be feeling it if you’ve recently started working out or gone back to a workout routine after a lay-off.
In fact, your muscles might be screaming out as loud as can be.
It hurts, but it isn’t something you should necessarily worry about.
If you haven’t used your muscles for a long time, suddenly asking them to complete tasks like lifting weights or moving a certain way is going to take some adjustment and adaption. The pain – called delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS – is natural.
And it can hurt. It can leave you sore and stiff for days. So, what can you do about it?
Stretching certainly helps. After you finish your workout, stretch the muscles you’ve targeted to prevent them from getting too tight. Starting the next day with a stretch may help, too.
Rest is another important component of recovery. Get good sleep, and then do your best to avoid putting added pressure on the muscles you’ve worked. This doesn’t mean sitting on the sofa if you’ve exercised your legs, but it does mean you shouldn’t specifically train them again for at least three days.
Your food choices can help, too. Nutrients help your tissue recover to come back stronger, so do your best to lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods that can help aid recovery. Processed foods and junk may lead to longer bouts of pain.
Most DOMS should clear in two to four days, but it can hang around a bit longer. Don’t worry about the pain in the muscle; it is normal. If pain is in the joints, then there may be an injury.
The best way to avoid joint pain from exercise is to work with a trainer to use proper techniques. They can show you how to keep stress off joints and strictly on muscle, which is where you want it.
There are a number of benefits to a stronger and more muscular body, so don’t let DOMS hold you back. Be smart with recovery, and you’ll make progress. Eventually, DOMS will subside.