Muscle pain is an unpleasant thing.
That dreaded feeling - getting up the morning after an intense workout and having agonizing thigh pain with every step, climbing the stairs is only possible through clenched teeth, and every time we want to stretch the body feels a sharp pain.
But what causes muscle soreness and what can we do to prevent this?
What causes sore muscles?
In the past it was believed that muscle soreness is a sign of too much lactate (lactic acid) in the muscle. This is wrong. Muscle aches usually arise from a very high and / or new and unusual stress on the muscle tissue
. This leads to small cracks known as microtrauma in the muscle. A large accumulation of these injuries is then registered by the body as pain – the result: sore muscles.
Caution is warranted! The transition between microtrauma and major injuries is fluent, he who is not so careful is susceptible to strains, fiber cracks, etc.
Is muscle soreness a sign of muscle growth?
In a way because the mechanisms that lead to muscle soreness are essential for muscle growth. The key muscle building operations are enabled only through microtrauma within the muscle fiber.
A muscle can grow without soreness. The number of microtrauma is simply less and will not be registered by the body as pain.
What helps against sore muscles?
- The best way is to promote blood circulation with heat. A hot shower, a hot bath or a sauna are proven remedies for sore muscles.
- Cooling on the other hand can be called a "painkiller" because the nerves are paralyzed and muscle pain is not so strong during movement.
- A massage can act as a remedy. However, you must do so without performing the typical kneading movement. After all, we do not want to add even more "damage" to the muscle, but only stimulate circulation.
- Rest is the best-known tip against muscle soreness. In most cases, the pain after three days has completely gone. If this is the case then you do not have to worry about consequential damages.
Intense stretching after exercise may even have a positive effect on the regeneration process and protect a little against muscle soreness, but when the injuries mentioned already exist in the affected muscle fibers, it will not help. On the contrary - it can aggravate existing injuries even more!
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How can I prevent sore muscles?
The best way to prevent muscle soreness is regular exercise.
Whether it’s weight training, cardio training or ball sports.
As a protective measure you should not perform at high intensity during training. A slow but steady increase of load helps the body adapt to stress. This is especially recommended after a resting period.
Before training you should perform a five to ten minute cardio warm up (i.e. increase your blood circulation) and warm-up sets (of chosen exercises) of which you will perform fully during exercise (to prepare the specific muscles for the load).
So your body is fully prepared for your training session.
In this sense: Have fun!