I was listening to my favorite fitness pod cast Dr. Monte's Fitness Rocks when a guest speaker/personal trainer, Charles Staley, said that most folks quit their exercise regimen, especially when they are new to working out, because they don't like being sore. They just didn't like the post workout soreness that can come on as late as 48 hours after the workout. Ahhh...the gradual build of muscle being reformed.
I have heard this too, at the Pilates studio. So if this is your favorite excuse to not workout, at least you will know you are not alone. I am here to tell you that muscle soreness, however, is a good sign. It means you worked. You created just a little bit of healthy cell damage to your muscles. The muscles are going to repair themselves, getting stronger so they can meet the next challenge you throw their way. Being sore means you are getting stronger. I always take it as a good sign, I like to be pleasantly surprised by where I am sore the next day after yoga, Pilates, running or weight training.
Now, if you go overboard and do 75 push-ups on your first day of boot camp, you are no doubt going to be sore, but your arms are going to be undoubtably stronger. In case you get sore past your comfort zone, here's how to deal with the pain:
- Take an OTC anti-inflammatory drug, such as Advil (ibuprofen) or my favorite Aleve (naproxen sodium/naprosyn).
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- A light aerobic workout can actually help relieve the pain, since moving around will bring blood to the sore area and new blood helps promote the healing process. Try walking or biking.
- Drink lots of water - water helps everything.
- Gentle massage and gentle stretching can also promote healing. When you are sore, you really need to stretch to ensure that the new muscle being created is long and flexible (not bunched and tight). So stretching would be a great activity to do after your light aerobic workout.
So revel in the pain, it means you are getting stronger. If you know you are adverse to pain and being sore will make you quit, take a slower approach as you build your weight routine and your cardio exercise. Mixing it up is a good way to avoid over taxing the same muscles over and over again.
If your post workout pain persists for over 7 days, you should consult your physician. If you are feeling pain around a joint, you should ice the area.