Why am I Sore after exercise?

To answer the above question: there are many different theories as to why you get sore, some of which are true, some of which are merely myth. It is our hope that the following information with help distinguish between fact and fiction.

We all know how satisfying it is to get moving, to achieve a goal, hit a new personal record, or try a new routine-satisfying, until the next morning when you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. This soreness is common among active individuals and is more likely to occur when you make a change to your workout routine. Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short, is a term used to describe this phenomenon. DOMS is explained away in the fitness industry with a multitude of reasons, we here at Clayton Chiropractic Center want to set the record straight on the cause of DOMS.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is most commonly explained as the build up of lactic acid, or lactate, in the muscles, which is untrue. It is true that the muscle produces lactate, but this process occurs during both activity and rest. Lactate is a by-product of muscles metabolic process and is produced in higher amounts while working out, however; all of this lactate is cleared from the body between 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. DOMS is actually caused by micro-tears in your muscle that occur as you exercise. Many people think of tearing of the muscle as a bad thing, and in some cases, they are correct. Large muscle tears are a major injury and cause lengthy recovery; however these micro-tears are actually quiet necessary for muscle growth and strength gain. These microscopic tears cause inflammation and in turn, soreness. As your body repairs these microscopic tears, it does so with new, healthy, and strong muscle tissue. Through this process, it is important to adapt your workout regimen to continue to challenge your body in order to continue to gain strength and muscle growth.

This leaves you wondering; now that I am sore, what can I do to help reduce the soreness? There are several different methods to reduce soreness which include the following:

  • Stretching-While it is not a stead fast rule that stretching before or after a workout reduces the effects of DOMS, it is an important part of any workout routine. Stretching key muscles can help reduce the effects of DOMS, we recommend dynamic stretching, which includes activating muscles throughout the stretch. Here is a great dynamic stretching routine
  • Foam Rolling- This technique has quickly become one of the most popular recovery tool among all athletes. The compression and rolling stimulates fluid movement and healing process to help improve flexibility and speed recovery. Please note that this process is not the most comfortable, but does help reduce the constant soreness experienced after a workout. You can ask any of the doctors on tips on foam rolling.
  • Eat after your workout- This might be a confusing concept to some people because you associate working out with weight loss. Your muscles, however; do need nutrients in order to recover; therefore, it is important to eat after an intense workout. Soreness can be alleviated with protein-rich foods which minimize inflammation. It is important that you consume a protein rich meal 30-40 minutes after your workout. A simple post-workout meal is a protein shake.
  • Epsom Salt bath: A hot bath is a great way to relax muscles post-workout. Epsom salt can be a wonderful addition to this practice. The magnesium in Epsom salt can be absorbed through the skin, which helps reduce soreness and improve muscle function. The warmth of the water also increases blood flow and decrease soreness.

As always, we urge you to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise plan. If you believe that your soreness is more than muscle fatigue from your workout, seek advice from your doctor as well.