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Should You Exercise Sore Muscles?


should you exercise sore muscles

If you are someone who exercises regularly, you know that feeling the day after an intense workout where your muscles ache so bad you can barely get out of bed.  So it is easy to ask the question, should you exercise when you are sore?

Well if you are new to working out, that feeling of being sore is known as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and it is basically your muscles repairing itself after being torn down from a workout.  Making your body even stronger for the next workout.

As easy as it may be to let soreness stop you from making it to your workout the following day, rarely is it ever a good excuse to skip the gym.  Understanding how to get through your workouts despite the soreness you feel is something I will try to help guide you through.

Assess Pain

Going through the normal soreness after a workout is one thing, but if you are suffering from a pain that doesn’t seem to get any better, then you might want to pay attention to what you body is telling you.

Especially if you are person who is just started working out, it can be difficult to recognize what is soreness and what is actual pain that can lead to injury.  

So make sure to listen to your body and be aware of any long lasting pain.

Body In Repair Mode

It is important to understand that soreness is caused by muscles microtearing which helps rebuild your muscle fibers to make them stronger.  

This is the natural process of the body reforming itself to help make a stronger YOU.  So don’t be afraid to embrace the pain of soreness and take it as a sign of you getting better and stronger for your next workout.

Take It Easy

If you feel your body is really sore, then don’t be afraid to take it easy on your next workout. Bring down the intensity and lower the amount of reps you do whether it is body weight or free weights.  

Also, If it is your upper body that is sore, then do a workout that involves the lower body. Sometimes working out can help speed up the time of your muscle recovery.

Have Some Protein

protein shake

Make sure to have 10-20 grams of protein before and after an intense workout as it helps lessen the time it takes for your muscles to heal.  Amino Acids are the building blocks when it comes to gaining muscle and they are found it protein.  

So if you want to build muscle, then making sure you are fueling your body with protein is a great way to do it. You would be amazed at how protein can aid in decreasing muscle soreness.

Make Sure To Stretch

Try stretching as much as you can after a workout.  Muscles can sometimes get tight after a strenuous workout so making sure they are nice and loose after a workout can help speed up recovery time.  Also be careful when it comes to stretching out cold muscles as you can risk injuring it further.

Try using some active stretching techniques as opposed to static stretching when the body is cold.  Making sure to stretch before going to bed and right after waking up can help with blood circulation which can speed up recovery time.

Cool Down

If you are really sore, and are a daring person, try an ice bath.  There’s a reason why you see athletes jumping into a tub full of ice after a game.  

As we know, ice is applied when there is inflammation in the body.  By applying ice to your body after a workout, your blood vessels will contract helping restrict inflammation.

As the body warms back up, circulation of the blood helps repair the muscles faster.  So if you think you can handle hopping in a tube full of ice, then go for it. I’m sure you body will thank you later.

It Will Get Better With Time

Know that the reason your body is sore is because you are putting it through something it is not yet used to. As you continue on with you exercise on a week to week basis, you will find that you do not get as sore as you used to.  

Some people like to measure their workouts by how sore they are.  Being sore after every workout is not something you want as it can inhibit your workout.  Measure your fitness goals by how many miles you are able to run or by the amount of weight you are now able to lift.  

If your endurance is increasing or you notice you are getting stronger, these are signs that you are making strides to better health.  So stay consistent and keep finding motivation with every goal that you set for yourself and the results will follow.

So please share below how you prepare for a workout when you are feeling sore.

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Should You Stretch Before or After a Workout?

Let’s be honest, nobody likes to stretch. Stretching just isn’t fun! But let’s also be real, unless you’re under the age of 30, the body just doesn’t move like it used to.

Even still, regardless of age, stretching can be key when making sure you are at your optimal level when exercising.  So the question is, Should you stretch before or after a workout?

I will breakdown the importance of why you should stretch, when you should stretch and how you should stretch when getting ready to take your body through a workout.

Importance Of Stretching

Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion – Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of motion while conducting a workout. By doing so, you are able to get the maximum benefit with any specific exercise you are doing.

Whether it is strength training, Running, or performing in competition, you are allowing your body to push at full capacity.

Warming up your body – You’re also getting the muscles warmed up and ready to complete a workout.

Especially as you get older, you will start to notice that when the body isn’t warmed up, you will feel a little tight and not able to move as freely as you would if you warmed up properly.

Getting the body warmed up also helps in preventing injury.  So stretching can be a great help in making sure the body is good to go before performing a workout.

Different Types Of Stretching Techniques

There are a two main types of stretching techniques you will see people do before or after a workout. Each stretch has its pros and cons, but both try to achieve one main goal, which is to get the body ready to perform. The two types of stretches are Static and Dynamic and I will explain how both are effective in getting the body ready.

Static Stretching – which you will see most people do before or after a workout, either while sitting down or standing up. The purpose of this stretch is to make sure that all tight muscles are stretch out before performing an exercise.

Usually tight muscles within the body are shortened and need to be stretched out. So you will see people stationary in positions that are meant to lengthen the muscle that feels tight.

Dynamic Stretching – this type of stretch involves more movement as you are preparing the body for a particular exercise you are about to perform.

For example, you tend to see track athletes that are getting ready for a sprint race perform high knees while pumping their arms.

Since during the race this will be the actual motion they will be performing, it helps make sure their body is operating at full potential.

Research has also shown that dynamic stretching helps more with getting your body ready for the workout as where static stretching can decrease strength if done before before a workout.

Which gets me to the question, should you stretch before or after a workout?

When Should You Stretch And For How Long?

The recommended amount of time to stretch each muscle, is usually about 30 seconds long. Keep in mind that every person is different so you want to make sure you stretch for as long as it takes for your body to get warmed up for the workout. Depending on the your workout, making sure your body is prepared to do that workout is important to making sure you prevent injury.

So if you are getting ready to do squats, doing dynamic stretching will provide a more efficient workout if performed before. Static stretching done before a workout is known to reduce your strength thus causing you to not perform your exercise at optimal level.

I would recommend doing some static stretches after your workout where the muscles tend to be tight(shortened) to make sure you lengthen them to get them loose.

Cool Down And Stretch

This is a good time to focus on your breathing and get your mind right after an intense workout. Also, I would highly recommend you invest in a foam roller which can be a great tool for loosening up your muscles before and after a workout

So please comment below and let us know how you prepare for a workout. Whether you stretch before or after a workout and how does your body feel afterwards.

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