Working Out When Sore: Is It A Good Idea?

If you’re a regular at the gym, you’ve probably experienced the dreaded feeling of sore muscles after a workout. But what causes this pain, and is there anything you can do to ease it?

Key Facts

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS):
Exercise, especially intense or new routines, can lead to muscle soreness, known as DOMS, which is a natural part of the muscle repair and strengthening process.

Listen to Your Body: Moderate exercise can often be beneficial when sore, but it’s crucial to listen to your body. If the pain is more than mild discomfort, rest and recovery may be needed.

Low-Intensity Activity: When sore, consider low-intensity activities or exercises targeting different muscle groups to avoid overworking the affected area.

Recovery Importance: Rest, proper nutrition, and hydration are vital for muscle recovery and should not be compromised for the sake of maintaining a workout schedule.

Medical Advice: If pain persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s essential to seek medical advice to rule out more severe conditions like strains or injuries.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the science of muscle soreness. We’ll also give you some tips on how to ease the pain after a workout, including when to rest and when to push through the pain. 

Should you worry about it?

Working out when you’re hurting can be a great way to get your body moving and feel your muscles working, but it’s important to be smart about it.

The first thing is to understand why you’re feeling sore. It’s actually a sign that your muscles have been working hard. It’s what happens when the muscle cells are damaged, and they repair themselves by forming new proteins.

This process can be uncomfortable, and that’s why muscle soreness often feels like pain.

However, it’s important to remember that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, it’s a sign that your body is repairing itself and getting stronger.

So if you’re aching after working out, don’t worry—it’s all part of the process!

Sore shoulder muscles

What causes muscle soreness after working out?

Most people find it usually happens 24 hours after your work out, and it goes away after a few days.

It’s tiny microscopic tears in the muscle tissue that lead to soreness. When your muscles have microtrauma, it means that they have been hurt in some way.

There are two main things that cause microtrauma:

When you do eccentric exercise, you use your muscles to do something outside of their normal range of motion.

For instance, when you do a bench press, your arms go from being low to being high.

This kind of exercise hurts your muscles because it takes them outside of their normal range of motion.

When you work out with maximum effort, you use all of your muscle power.

Most of the time, this kind of exercise consists of lifting heavy weights or doing high-intensity cardio. Microtrauma is caused by exercises that require your muscles to work quickly and hard.

Both kinds of microtrauma can lead to sore

muscles. Both eccentric and maximum effort exercises cause tiny tears in your muscles, which lets your body fix them faster.

This small injury happens because the exercise makes the muscle fibres work harder than they should. The microtrauma causes inflammation and pain in the muscle fibres.

There are a few things you can do to reduce muscle soreness and make your exercise routines more fun: take time to recover in between, and try switching between high-intensity and low-intensity exercises.

Workout soreness

What are DOMs?

The most common kind of muscle pain is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMs). They usually start 48 hours and can last up to 7 days (if you’re unlucky!).

Small tears in the muscle fibres are what cause DOMs. Because of these tears, inflammation and pain can happen in the muscles.

The best way to avoid DOMs is to warm up and cool down properly before and after working out. 

You should also try to take it slowly and get harder as time goes on rather than pushing yourself too hard – which actually risks injury as well as just soreness.

How to Ease Soreness After a Workout – some tips

In order to ease the soreness, follow these simple tips:

  1. Get a massage. A massage can help to loosen up tight muscles and reduce the inflammation that often accompanies physical activity. Not only will this make you feel better, but it will also improve your performance during future workouts. You might want to check our articles on sports massage and deep tissue massage.
  2. Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen as directed. These over-the-counter medications are effective at relieving pain and reducing inflammation – ibuprofen in particular is an antiinflammatory. However, be sure to read the label carefully so as not to overdose on these medications or consume them for an extended period of time.
  3. Ice the area after exercise and apply compression bandages if needed in order to reduce swelling and encourage speedy healing.

If all else fails, see a doctor!

Muscle pain

Can I work out if I’m still feeling muscle soreness?

Yes! However, it’s important to understand if you’re feeling pain from previous exercise (DOMs) or if you have actually injured yourself. 

If you have an injury, you don’t want to aggravate your injury any further. If you do feel like working out, try doing some light exercises that focus on your main muscles instead of all of your smaller ones at once.

This will help you avoid more injuries and get the most out of your workouts overall.

If you have DOMs (and not an injury), then working out can actually help to improve your muscle soreness.

Working out will help to increase the blood flow to your muscles, which will actually speed up the healing process.

Working out can also help to release endorphins (a type of hormone), which can make you feel analgesic and relaxed.

By working out, you’re breaking down the muscle fibres and rebuilding them in a more productive manner.

This will help to speed up your recovery time and avoid future muscle damage.

However, be sure to listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t want to injure yourself!

Woman working out in gym on treadmill

When to Rest vs Push Through the Pain

Should you stay home or keep working out? How long do you need to rest? Unfortunately, there isn’t one straight answer.

It really depends on you and how your body works. But there are some general rules that can make it easier to make decisions.

First of all, working out when your muscles hurt is usually safe. If you feel pain when you work out, it could be because of lactic acid buildup, which happens when you work out hard.

If you don’t give your muscles time to rest and heal, lactic acid will start to build up in them. Massage can help ease the pain and get blood flowing back into your muscles so they can heal properly.

Taking a hot bath can also help get the blood moving, which can help muscles recover and heal.

If you’re in a lot of pain after, you might want to skip it for the day.

So, your muscles will have time to rest and heal. If you do decide to work out the next day, start slowly. Start with shorter sessions and make them longer if you need to.

If you worked out too hard or for too long without breaks, you might want to take a day off until your muscles have recovered.

Really it’s your call, just listen to your body!

Resting post workout

Is it bad to work out when you’re sore?

Ultimately its your call (sorry!).

Some people feel that it’s best to wait until the pain has subsided before hitting the gym, while others feel that working out helps to speed up the healing process. 

There is no one answer to this question.

As we’ve discussed, muscle soreness can be caused by a variety of factors, including overtraining, overexerting yourself during a physical activity, and insufficient rest.

But if you’re ever worried or unsure – definitely consult a doctor or sports therapist.

How else can I help relieve muscle soreness?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as the best way to ease muscle pain will vary depending on the individual.

However, some simple tips include: drinking plenty of water, taking ibuprofen or paracetamol before working out, massaging your painful areas regularly, and using ice packs or hot baths afterwards 

So overall…

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to working out when you’re sore – what matters most is making sure that you listen to your body and take the time necessary to heal properly.

By following these simple guidelines, you should be able to workout without any major repercussions.

Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and injury-free while working out:

1. Listen to Your Body

If you feel pain or a sense of discomfort while working out, stop and take a break. If you can’t break a sweat, it’s probably not a good idea to continue.

2. Take It Slow

When you first start working out, make sure to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Pushing yourself too hard will only result in more pain and fatigue.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workouts to help keep your muscles hydrated and lubricated. This will help reduce the risk of cramps and injury.

4. warming up is key!

Before starting any exercise, it is important to warm up your body gradually by doing some light cardio or stretching. This will help prevent muscular fatigue and joint pain later on in your session.

5. Use Proper Equipment

Make sure that you’re using proper equipment when working out – machines that are too heavy can cause strain on your joints, while improper form can put extra pressure on your muscles and lead to injury.

6. Ice It Up

If you feel like your muscles are sore and stiff after your workout, ice them down for 20 minutes or so. Using ice will help reduce inflammation and pain, and will also speed up the healing process.

This will help reduce inflammation and make the muscles more comfortable to move.

7. Eat Right

Make sure to eat plenty of good, nutritious food before and after your workouts to refuel your body and help reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

Foods That Help Relieve Muscle Soreness

Fortunately, there are foods that can help!

The best foods to eat before and after working out are also one of the keys in relieving (or preventing) muscle soreness.

Foods for muscle soreness

Here are some of the best foods that can help:

  • Low-fat milk: Milk is a great source of protein and carbohydrates which helps to refuel muscles. It is also low in calories, so it doesn’t add any weight to your meal plan.
  • Bananas: Bananas are a good source of potassium which helps to relax muscles and reduce inflammation. They’re also high in sugar, so they don’t have as much impact on blood sugar levels as other more strenuous snacks might have.
  • Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt has healthy bacteria strains that help to fight off cramps and infection while you work out. It’s also high in calcium, vitamin D, probiotics, and antioxidants which support overall health and wellbeing.

What are the best ways to stretch sore muscles?

Stretching is a great way to ease the pain and swelling associated with sore muscles. Also, it can help improve the flexibility and range of motion of the muscles.

Here are some of the best ways to stretch muscles that hurt:

-Stretching the hamstrings People who have hamstring pain are often told to do this stretch. To stretch your hamstrings, sit with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and press down on your heels. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then slowly move back to where you started.

-Stretching the thighs Lay on your back with your legs straight out in front of you. With your palms flat on the floor above your shoulders, lift your hips off the floor by using your abdominal muscles until you feel a slight stretch in your quadriceps (the four muscle groups located on each side of your thigh). Hold this position for 15 seconds, then slowly lower your feet to the floor.

-The child’s pose This pose is great for reducing stress and anxiety and relieving tension in the neck and shoulders. First, sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground and your back straight. Reach back with one hand, touch your forehead to the palm of your other hand, and lean back slightly while keeping your head still. Stay here for 10–15 minutes, and then slowly get up and move around.

Woman smiling after working out in a gym

Summing up

Working out when you’re sore is a great way to loosen up your muscles, but it’s important to be smart about it. By following these tips, you’ll be able to workout safely and injury-free.

While muscle soreness may be unavoidable after a workout, it doesn’t mean you have to stop entirely. In fact, working out while you’re a little sore can actually help you to get stronger and more fit.