Have you ever felt muscle pain after starting a new activity or putting pressure on yourself more than usual during exercise?
Muscle pain that appear after a day or two of exercise may affect anyone, regardless of your fitness level.
However, do not delay the exercise. This type of muscle stiffness or pain is normal, does not last long, an actual sign of your fitness improvement.
Dr Jonathan Fuland, an expert in neural and muscular physiology at Loughborough University, explains how to avoid muscle pain after exercise.
Why do my muscles pain after exercise?
Muscle pain after physical activity, known as the delayed onset of muscle pain, is common at the beginning of the exercise of the new program. Change your routine practices, increase the duration or intensity of the usual exercise.
When muscles are required to exert more effort than usual, or in a different way, this causes microscopic damage to muscle fibres, leading to muscle ache or stiffness.
It is wrong thought that the cause of delayed muscle pain is the formation of lactic acid; however, the lactic acid is not involved in the process.
Who is affected by delayed muscle pain?
The onset of muscle pain can affect anyone. It can touch even those who have been practising for years, including elite athletes. This situation can be alarming for new people to exercise. And may give them the initial enthusiasm to work hard to get fit.
The good news is that the pain will decrease with the exercise of your muscles on the tasks required of them.
Pain is part of the adjustment process that increases the stamina and strength while the muscles regain their build. If you do not press yourself, you are unlikely to experience delayed muscle pain after your second training session.
What type of activities may cause delayed muscle pain?
Any movement that you do not do can cause, in particular, those movements that cause muscle contraction when lengthened (called contraction of the decentralized muscles).
Examples of decentralized muscle contractions include stairway downhill, jogging or running downhill, lowering weights (such as biceps reduction), downward movement in squatting, and pressure exercise.
How long does the delayed onset of muscle pain last?
The delayed onset of muscle pain usually lasts between three and five days. Pain, which may range from mild to severe, usually occurs after one or two days of exercise.
This type of muscle pain should not be confused with any type of pain you may experience during exercise, such as acute pain, sudden and severe pain due to injury, such as muscle sprain or pain.
How can I treat delayed muscle pain?
There is no one simple way to treat this condition because nothing has been proven 100% effective. Some treatments such as ice bags, massage, treatment of acupoints, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, may help relieve some symptoms.
The delayed onset of muscular pain does not require medical intervention in general. However, you should seek medical advice if the pain becomes exhausted, or swells dramatically or if your urine becomes dark.
How can I prevent delayed muscle pain?
One of the best ways to prevent delayed onset of muscles pain is to start any new program gently and gradually. Giving muscles time to adjust to new movements may help reduce pain.
There is some evidence that warm-up will be effective in preventing the onset of muscles pain. However, exercise after warm-up of muscles reduces the incidence of infection and improves your performance.
Despite the many benefits of stretching, there is currently no evidence that stretching before or after exercise helps reduce or prevent delayed muscles pain.
Can I continue the exercise despite the delayed appearance of muscle pain?
You can continue the exercise though, although you may feel uncomfortable, especially during the warm-up phase. You may find that the pain will disappear during the exercise. But will return after it is finished as soon as your muscles cool.
If the pain impedes the exercise, it is advisable to abstain for a few days until the pain subsides. On the other hand, you can focus on exercising the less affected muscles to allow the muscles most affected by recovery.
Will I continue to suffer from delayed muscle pain?
The delayed appearance of muscle pain is a pattern to adapt muscles. Which means that your muscles adapt to the new exercise.
The next time you perform the same activity or exercise the same intensity. There will be less damage to the muscles tissue, less pain, and faster recovery.
Just one bout of delayed onset of muscles pain has a partial protective effect. Reducing the chances of developing pain when doing the same exercise in the coming weeks and months.