Too Much Pain May Lead to a Slow Gain


Older Man Stretching Before Exercise

If you've been avoiding the gym for the sofa, you might be caught a bit off guard by post-workout soreness. Depending upon how inactive you've been, muscle soreness can hang around for days following your initial exercise session. Setting your goals and starting your new routine was hard enough, but add to that the pain created by your workout and it can be difficult to keep the momentum going. After all, when you can barely get out of bed the next day, it can be difficult to stay on track.

As you get older, delayed onset muscle soreness is a common result of engaging in a new physical activity, especially one that may have overworked muscles that haven't been recently used. When your muscles perform a lengthening or eccentric contraction, small microscopic damage occurs in the muscle fibers. Generally speaking, these small tears coupled with the onset of inflammation is what is causing your new aches and pains.

When muscles have to adapt to a new workout or physical activity, delayed onset muscle soreness is commonplace and even a dedicated body builder will experience some level of discomfort. But for an aging couch potato who was all excited about starting a new regimen, this can be discouraging. Truth is, it is okay to be sore and it is something you will likely have to work your way through. If the soreness is too much to deal with, try ice, rest, some light stretching and take it easy for a few days while your body adapts.

Keeping your sore muscle moving with a rehabilitative activity like swimming can be good for pain relief during this transition period. Although you shouldn't expect to set any records while your body is recovering from delayed onset muscle soreness, it is important to stay focused. After all, the worst of the soreness should be in the muscles that got overworked, so alternate working on other parts of your body while the fatigued muscles recover. This is where professional athletes rely on cross training to balance their conditioning.

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