Category: Workouts

When to Exercise When Stricken with Muscle Soreness

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), the miserable tenderness that follows a tough workout, typically indicates that damage has occurred to the muscles involved. Most experts are in agreement that the pain of DOMS is related to microscopic tears in muscles, most of which occur because of impact and the negative, eccentric portions of exercises. These tiny muscle strains, along with the resulting inflammation, are likely the primary causes of muscle soreness.

The pain of DOMS is most common when beginning a new exercise program, a phenomenon that is poorly understood. Some experts suggest that the inefficiency of movement when learning and performing new exercises, produces more muscular damage than when the nervous system is precisely tuned to a movement. For this reason alone, the muscle soreness a workout produces does not correlate with the productiveness of the workout, though the type of muscle damage that comes with DOMS is valuable in pursuit of certain fitness goals.

DOMS usually occurs when doing an intense workoutWhen Exercising Helps Relieve Muscle Soreness

Although doing another workout may not come to mind immediately when managing muscle soreness, it can be extremely helpful in relieving the pain and expediting the recovery process. When muscles are only moderately sore and exercises can be performed with proper form, a light workout serves to increase circulation to affected areas. The consequential cleansing of irritants and influx of nutrients accelerate the processes that alleviate sore muscles, allowing for a quicker return to intense exercise.

When Workouts Might Harm Sore Muscles

When the gradually increasing discomfort of DOMS reaches unbearable levels, though, performing additional exercise can be tremendously counterproductive. A level of pain that interferes with performing simple daily tasks, such as reaching up for a box of cereal or bending down to pick up a ball, usually means that the muscles need more recovery time. Going through another intense workout can cause further damage to the muscles, which in turn can stall recovery, minimize the gains made from the previous workouts, and lead in some cases to debilitating injuries. Moreover, these painful workouts are usually performed far below the levels of performance that stimulate improvements. In such situations, the risk of injury typically outweighs any possible rewards.

Depending on the degree of muscle soreness experienced following an intense bout of exercise, a lower intensity recovery workout can produce a wide range of results. When dealing with mild discomfort, a gentle workout can loosen muscles, alleviate pain, and significantly hasten recovery. In cases of debilitating soreness, though, additional stress may not be the best option. Under these unpleasant circumstances, ice, rest, massage, heat, and stretching are more sensible alternatives.

Best Warm Weather Workouts to Keep You in Shape

The weather is finally starting to warm up. What better time to either start getting in shape or shake up your existing workout. The more pleasant weather provides a wealth of opportunities to get up and get moving. And unlike most workouts performed in a gym, they are activities that you can do with your loved ones. Here a few ideas to get you started.

1) Take a hike. Get out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a couple of hours and explore nature. Pack a lunch, plenty of water, and an extra set of clothes if you’re taking the young’uns (it’s amazing how dirty they get, and you probably won’t want those nasty clothes sitting on your car upholstery). Take your camera with you and take lots of photos. Those will be great memories down the line. Not to mention that you are teaching your children that exercise is fun, not a chore.

2) Take the plunge. Swimming works your whole body but is easy on your joints. Anyone can do it at any age. Again, take the kids. You can simply play around, very unstructured. You can swim laps. You can play water games such as polo or compete to see who can pick up the most dive sticks. If you have a net and a ball available, water volleyball is always a good time (just make sure your weaker swimmers are in the shallow end).

3) Park it. Feel like a kid again and run around your local park. Pack up some equipment and a picnic lunch, and you’re set. You can play soccer. Take your dog and play frisbee. You can play tag or red rover. Toss the football around. Your options are limited only by your imagination and your energy.

4) Go to the zoo. Some people wouldn’t consider this a workout. But if you’re just starting out, I say it’s perfect. Resist the urge to do any trolley rides or rent a cart. Just walk. You can trick yourself into getting a good walking workout. Before you know it, you’ve been on your feet and moving for hours.

5) Get to work. Plant that garden you’ve been talking about. Build that fence. Mow the yard. Wash your car. All of these things can be physically demanding. Plus, bonus, you’re accomplishing something else that needs to be done at the same time.