One of the most difficult things about a workout is deciding how sore is too sore to work out. If you have muscle soreness, then you can work out immediately. If you have joint or ligament pain, then you can work out the next day. If you have a broken bone, then you can work out within a few weeks. One thing is certain, if you are not feeling 100% after a workout, you probably should not work out.
When you’re hurting, it’s tempting to just do a little static stretching and call it a day. The problem is, you’ll probably only feel better for a short time, before you’re back in pain again. If the pain is sharp enough, your body’ll want to rest and heal, regardless of how sore you are—or at least, that’s how the thinking goes. The truth is, many injuries need immediate treatment, even if they’re not that bad. In other words, you shouldn’t let soreness keep you from working out.
Sometimes it’s okay to skip a workout, especially if you’ve got some minor injuries or ailments. Injuries heal, and minor ailments aren’t likely to get any worse, so if you’re not feeling 100% and you don’t expect your ailment to get any worse in the next few hours, then you should be able to skip a workout and go for a run tomorrow.. Read more about should i workout with sore muscles and let us know what you think.
Now you may be wondering Should I exercise if I am still a little sick?
You saw an interesting new workout that you wanted to try, so you decided to give it a try. You absolutely succeeded in your workout and you feel good afterwards. The next day you are sore and wonder if you worked too hard during your workout. However, you want to keep working out even when you’re in pain. Does that sound like you? Believe me, I’ve been there! I always wondered if I could work out when my muscles hurt, or if muscle pain was a good sign. Don’t worry, I’m about to tell you whether or not you should train for pain, as well as 5 ways to prevent it in the future! But before we tell you whether or not you should exercise when you’re in pain, it’s important to know and understand that there are two different types of pain.
Delayed onset of muscle pain (DOMS)
Delayed muscle fatigue, also known as DOMS, is muscle soreness that occurs at least 12 to 24 hours after exercise. However, the typical peak period is about 1 to 3 days. Regardless of your fitness level, muscle fibers are prone to microscopic tears when you introduce a new workout or train at a higher intensity. This can seem daunting at first, but it’s a good thing! As you recover, your muscles get stronger and bigger. You will also be prepared to have less pain next time you do this workout. Your body responds to these tears with increased inflammation and delayed pain. According to Healthline, some symptoms of DOMS may include:
- muscle fatigue
- Swelling of the worked muscles
- short-term loss of muscle power
- Limited range of motion when moving due to muscle pain and stiffness.
- The muscles are sensitive
Now you know that DOMS is the pain you feel a few days after an intense workout, but what about the pain you feel during the workout?
Acute muscular pain
The muscle soreness you feel during your workout is called acute muscle soreness. It can happen to anyone. However, it is more likely to occur when a person increases the intensity of the exercise (as in the case of DOMS). This is the burning sensation you feel in your muscles due to the accumulation of lactic acid. This muscle pain usually disappears by itself when you stop exercising or after a while.
Is it worth exercising with sore muscles?
This brings us to the most important part of this post. Is exercise a good idea during illness? Or is that a bad thing in general? A good rule of thumb for determining if you should exercise when you have muscle pain is your pain level. If you feel so much pain that the movement seems unbearable, don’t do it. However, if you experience mild discomfort and can perform normal activities without much pain, then pain training is definitely recommended! I will go into this in more detail in the next part!
Improved training for painful conditions
If you want to exercise while in pain, you need to engage in what is called active recovery. This is a light resistance exercise, a low-intensity workout, or an improvement in mobility. By doing these simple exercises, you pump more blood into your muscles. This increase in blood flow helps relieve muscle pain and allows you to recover faster. If you are a little stiff, a light to moderate workout can help loosen up stiff muscles. Here’s a list of some simple exercises you can do:
- Stretching or resistance exercises
- Go to
- Easy walk
- Light cycling
- Light cardio training
- Dynamic exercises (e.g. lunges, circular arm movements, etc.)
If you feel pain, you can do one of the following exercises:
- A little further.
- Dynamic exercises
- Go to
If you still feel a lot of stiffness and pain after a warm-up or dynamic stretching, it is best to rest. The key to pain training is listening to your body! If you experience severe pain during normal daily activities, you should take a day off. You might even need two or three days off, depending on how you feel! Although it may be tempting to lie on the couch or stay in bed, you should not do this as it can make the pain and stiffness you are feeling worse. Try to do gentle movements, like walking at the very least. This increases blood flow to the muscle and relieves pain. After the rest period, try to resume training gradually to avoid worsening muscle soreness and damage. You can participate in activities such as light cardio or a lighter version of your previous workout. This can mean lighter weights, fewer sets or reps! However, if you decide to exercise while in a lot of pain, it could be bad for you. Remember those microscopic tears in the muscle fibers we talked about earlier? These cracks are not bad, but they need time to heal and repair. If you have been training at a very high intensity, this will result in more tears and the muscle tear may not heal properly. You also risk tearing the muscle again, which takes longer to recover. So working out when you’re in pain can be a bad thing.
Is it good or bad to exercise during illness?
And what is the verdict? Should I wait until my muscles don’t hurt anymore to start working out again? Or is working out when you’re sick acceptable? As I mentioned earlier, the most important thing is to listen to your body and try to actively recover. Only you know how you feel. Listen to what your body is telling you when you decide whether or not to exercise!
Recovery from pain
You don’t think there must be some way to fix sore muscles? Or maybe even prevent the pain from occurring? Well, my friend, let me tell you how to help a sore muscle recover, as well as some ways to prevent (but not completely eliminate) muscle soreness in the future!
How to relieve muscle soreness after exercise
One of the best ways to relieve sore muscles is to use a foam roller right after a workout. This is done through a technique called Self-Myofascial Release (SMR). This releases the tension in the connective tissue and muscles. In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, researchers found that foam rolling can help reduce DOMS and increase range of motion. Buying a foam roller was one of the best purchases I made for myself. I recommend starting with smooth, soft foam rollers if you are a beginner. But once you get going, a foam roller with grooves and spikes is best for a deeper muscle massage! Another thing you can do is stay hydrated. But I’ll talk about that in the next part!
5 ways to avoid muscle soreness in the future
#1 Simple training
If you want to start a new training or fitness program, it is important that you take your time. As with anything, if you start something new right away, you run the risk of injury or significant muscle soreness, and you put your body under unnecessary stress. Let’s look at it this way: If you had never skied before, would you compete on a crowded course? I hope not. You’ll probably want to take your time and make sure your form and technique are good before you do anything else. The same goes for training!
#2 Gradual increase of intensity
This applies to the first board. If you’re trying a new workout, start with lighter weights or shorter intervals, or even a shorter workout in general! Your muscles will get bigger and stronger with a gradual increase in intensity. Once you are able to perform at higher intensity, the more you train your body, the less likely you are to experience extreme DOMS.
#3 Stay hydrated
Humidify, humidify, humidify! It is very important to keep drinking enough water before, during and after your workout, regardless of the intensity. Although it seems obvious, most of us tend to neglect this step. We are so busy exercising and keeping our energy up that we forget we need to drink water. If you want to learn more about why water is so important to our health, you can read this article: How to stay healthy and slim.
#4 Warm-up and recovery
Another step that most of us like to skip is the warm-up before training and the cool-down after. Spend about 5-10 minutes warming up your muscles with dynamic stretches. These can be exercises like walking lunges, air squats or high knees. When you do a good warm-up, you’re basically waking up your muscles and letting them know you’re ready to work! To relax, you can do low-intensity cardio/walking exercises or static stretching. Static stretching exercises are things like stretching a runner or crossing your arms over your chest and stretching. This will reduce the effects of DOMS and increase muscle and joint flexibility!
#5 Be consistent
The last piece of advice I want to give you is to be consistent. Don’t let the effects of DOMS or even severe muscle soreness keep you from exercising! Consistent strength training builds and strengthens your muscles. But that won’t happen if you decide to do the training once, but then never repeat it. Muscle soreness is inevitable, especially when you start a fitness journey or a new training program. Still, you’re not doing yourself any favors in the future if you stay consistent to avoid future muscle soreness!
Final thoughts on training during illness
Working while it hurts is a good thing! But it can also be dangerous if you don’t listen to your body. Knowing how much pain is too much for a workout will go a long way in your recovery! If you want to start training at a higher intensity, especially now that you know all about pain, you can check out some of the workouts I’ve included below! I have other fitness tips too!
Should I exercise if I am in pain?
In this article, I will cover the gym and soreness (or “pain” as I like to call it) and what you can do about it. Soreness is a common problem that people have when starting a new exercise regimen. People can be sore in the gym for a variety of reasons. One reason may be that the exercises are too strenuous for the body. When you first start exercising, you may not be used to the level of energy that your muscles have. This can lead to soreness.. Read more about should i wait until my muscles aren t sore to work out again and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are sore muscles a good sign?
When I first started, I thought working out was a waste of time—until I had a freak accident and suffered a muscle injury. The pain woke me up to the fact that I needed to work out—and that I would need to do so more often and more intensely. Cue in the sore muscles. Not all injury is bad—in fact, some injuries are ideal. For example, I gained muscle mass while recovering from my accident. The muscle soreness was a byproduct of building muscle. If you’re injured, and you have to build mass again, you’ll develop sore muscles. They don’t mean you should stop the regimen and use your time to heal. Every athlete knows that a sore muscle is a good sign. But why? And, if so, how does it help?
What happens if you workout while sore?
Staying off of the mat when you’re injured can be ridiculously hard. The general idea is to rehabilitate your body and get it back to normal. But in reality, there are a ton of factors that can influence your recovery and treatment, including the work you put in during your training sessions. When you’re working out while injured, it’s important to pay close attention to where you’re at, in order to keep your body from becoming overtrained and injured. There are a number of reasons why athletes, particularly those that are highly active, should refrain from exercising when they are injured. The most obvious is that exercise can damage your body if it is too sore. Sometimes an injury will be so severe that you need to take a rest period from physical activity until your body has fully healed.
Should I skip a workout if I’m sore?
The sounds of your body communicating pain are universal. When we’re injured, uncomfortably tired or overworked, our bodies react by sending out a distress signal, or sound. This signal is generated by the body’s sensory neurons, called nociceptors. These neurons are distributed throughout our bodies in a network called the central nervous system. Nociceptors in the skin send pain signals to the spinal cord, where they can be transmitted to the brain through a nerve called the dorsal root ganglion. These pain signals are then sent to the two sides of the brain, the temporal lobe and the insula. The brain then uses the insula to determine the source of pain and whether it is harmful As we live in an increasingly sedentary world, chances are you will skip a workout when you are sore. The problem is that the pain is likely to linger long after the workout is done. So, should you skip a workout to prevent becoming too sore? Well, the truth is, it’s not that simple. Any workout is going to cause some muscle soreness, so you should only skip a workout if you are doing it for the wrong reasons. For example, if you are sore because you are exercising for the wrong reason, like to look better in a swimsuit, then you should skip the workout. If, however, your soreness is not going to last more than a day or so (like the kind of soreness you
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