Most people aim to feel sore after workouts because they think that feeling muscle soreness is a clear indication that their exercise is working for them. But what does it really mean when your body is sore after you exercise, and is it really a good thing? Keep reading to learn more about this important topic so that you can make the most of each and every workout without overdoing it and putting your body at risk of injury.
What Exactly Is Post-Workout Soreness?
When you are sore after workouts, what you are really feeling is what is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short. This is a totally normal side effect of muscles rebuilding themselves.
Beyond sore muscles, however, DOMS also causes other symptoms, such as sensitivity to touch, stiffness, and weakness. You will usually start feeling these uncomfortable symptoms anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after you have worked out, and DOMS will peak anywhere from 24 to 72 hours later, but it should resolve within a few days. The typical healing time is three to five days.
What Causes DOMS?
Being sore after workouts is extremely common, yet experts are not really clear on what causes DOMS. It is thought that microscopic tears occur within muscles and surrounding connective tissues as a result of exercising. Those tears need to be repaired after your workout, and that is what causes DOMS symptoms to occur until your body has finished healing itself.
When Soreness Is No Longer a Good Thing
Again, soreness can be considered a natural byproduct of a good workout, and it can also be considered a sign that your body is actually improving in terms of muscle size and strength. However, if you’re working your muscles to hard, you will end up doing more harm than good. If you find that you are in pain either during your workout routine or the pain continues to last for longer than just a few days after your workout, you should rest, scale back your exercise routine, and see your doctor to be sure you have not caused any serious damage.
Also, being sore every day is not a good thing because it will prevent you from getting the most out of your next workout or going to the gym at all. Consistency is more important than having sore muscles to prove you taxed them, so push your boundaries but respect your body’s limits.