Last summer, I got back to the gym after an extended time off. I’ll tell you, it felt great, but it took some getting used to.
But after eight weeks of strength gains and muscle growth, I caught COVID and had to double my commute time to work. The gym no longer fit into my schedule, and the gains were gone.
I’m back at it this week, and it feels great. But as you might have noticed, waking up your muscles after an extended break can be painful.
After three days, the parts I exercised are still tender, and I’m experiencing something called DOMS – Delayed Muscle Soreness. This is a common symptom of exercise for both rookies and highly active people.
Sore muscles following a workout are common, especially if you haven’t worked out in a long time. It’s essentially the reaction to usage, and it typically goes away soon and does not signify an injury. As workouts become more frequent and your body adjusts, the pain often dulls or goes away completely.
That said, you should give your muscles a few days to recover if they are sore. For example, if you have a scheduled gym day, but your chest and back muscles are still a little sore, maybe focus on different areas to allow more recovery time.
Once again, the pain will subside much faster once you’ve had a few workouts and your body adapts to the routine.
Not all pain is normal, though. If you’re experiencing pain in areas that are not muscle, like in the joints or bones, it may signify an injury. Also, if you notice anything acute while working out, the sensation of a snap or a pull, it could also be an injury.
These types of injuries may show up with swelling, discoloration, or throbbing. Visiting the doctor is a good idea if you think you’re dealing with one of these issues.
You can prevent injury to your joints and muscles by learning proper technique, which can be taught by a fitness professional like a personal trainer, and remembering to perform warm-ups, cool-downs, and stretches.