For the longest time it was believed that the soreness one feels after a rigorous workout was because of an accumulation of lactic acid in the body.
But science has put to rest such assumptions.
The truth is that your muscles produce lactic acid from the glucose in your body. And when you exercise, that lactic acid is used up and flushed out, almost within the next hour itself. In fact, the fitter you are, the better equipped your body is at using it optimally.
Typically, muscle soreness, also called delayed onset muscle soreness is caused by very tiny tears in one’s muscle fibres that then cause an inflammation. Whenever you begin a new workout regime, or make drastic changes to an existing one, or perhaps restart after a considerable gap, a feeling of soreness is almost inevitable.
The more your muscles are made to contract, the more the stress on them and therefore, more the inflammation and pain. So if a good workout is leaving you with aches, it is a perfectly normal reaction to the exertion and also an inherent part of your body’s mechanism to cope with the strain, in turn preparing you for better strength and stamina as well.
Many people go to great lengths to tackle this pain. While some opt for a massage, others prefer yoga and stretches, while some just rely on a nice, long bath. Well, the truth is that a massage will help as much as further exercise will! In either case, post workout soreness is best if left alone, in fact, even ignored. If the pain gets unbearable, then of course, you need to re-evaluate your exercise routine.
While one can’t really wish away the pain, there a few easy ways to bring down the frequency and extent.
- The most important natural way is to eat well and to eat right. A rich and balanced diet will provide your body the mechanism to build strong tissues that can then tackle inflammation and pain.
- Most people feel easy stretches help deal with soreness. But science says that this barely does help. In fact, unless you go for the lunges and squats – the more dynamic stretching routines – you are not really helping in easing the pain.
- The last approach is through cold packs and immersions. From a cold (or hot) bath, an alternating hot and cold compress to even a cold pack – all these can bring down inflammation and soreness to a considerable extent.