Ever woken up the day after a workout and been SO sore you don’t think you can move none of the less get up and try to workout at some point today?!?! Yes, you know that feeling. We all know that feeling. So how do we get over it? More importantly- why do we get over it?! Why do we find the motivation to get up and continue working out when our body feels burned out? When do you if you should keep pushing your muscles or rest? Sometimes, its beneficial to rest. Butttt, then there’s the other times when it benefits you more to continue exercising to help with your soreness! So, where do we draw that line? Keep reading below for our thoughts on soreness and how to handle it/when to stop.

Sometimes, when we’re just slightly sore the active recovery of a workout can be beneficial to your body. It may actually feel good to get your muscles warm and stretch out the soreness. It may also feel good to do a little bit of low-intensity cardio to loosen your muscles. Mobility or full range exercises lead to more blood pumping through the muscles. This increase in blood flow can help you recover from soreness sooner! Well, as long as you aren’t overloading or challenging your muscles more. So, what are the risks of overworking our muscles when we’re sore? 

Well, overtraining can be harmful and even dangerous for your health. How do we know when to take off time from exercising? Most of the time, our body will let us know when it’s overworked or needs a break. Here’s some common symptoms you can look for to know your body needs a break and you need to rest a minute.

1. Increase resting heart rate

    • WOAH! Big indicator right here. Heart rate acting up? Slow it down. What happens if our heart gets too high, what are the complications? Increased heart rate can disrupt our normal heart function and lead to serious complications such as heart failure, stroke and even further complications from that. Moral of the story, pay close attention to your heart rate! It is such a big indicator of what’s going on in your body

2. Depression or mood changes

    • Ever been so sore you’re cranky? Yeah, us too. Sometimes, overworked and restless bodies can lead to a lot of moods. That’s why it’s so important to rest your body and take care of yourself! Resting helps regulate our mood which is why it’s so important.

3. Increased amount of colds of other illnesses

    • Soreness can leave our body feeling vulnerable. Soreness can also lead to decreased sleep and decreased food or fluids intake. Decreasing both of those things will lead to your immune system taking a hit. Decreased fluids, decreased rest AND sore muscles? What a number that can do on the immune system. 

Now, how do we recognize injury vs soreness?
Symptoms of injury include: sharp pains, feeling uncomfortable or nauseated, constantly feeling pain, swelling, bruises and tingling or constant numbness.

Symptoms of soreness typical just includes feeling uncomfortable. Soreness really isn’t painful, just uncomfortable. This uncomfortableness typically disappears within 48 to 72 hours too! There’s our major difference between the two, if you experience anything from the first portion or anything that just seems truly odd, you should probably get that checked out. 

Soooooooo, now that we’ve gotten through the rough part, what are the benefits of working those sore muscles (once we know they’re actually just sore and not overworked)?? 

The pain we described earlier, is the pain we should worry about. The pain we feel after a hard workout? That’s what we called “delayed onset muscle soreness” and that is completely normal. Even though that pain may be SO bad and may make you want to quit every single workout you’ve tried before, we promise it’s worth it. The idea behind working out is to make a change in our bodies. Soreness is a way to feel that change! Telling the difference is the most important part in this whole thing. If you’re at the point where you’re needing a pain reliver to get through the workout, you should probably take a couple of days off. If your muscles don’t feel better with movement, take a day off. Now that we’ve figured out what’s good for sore and what’s bad, how do we work out the soreness? 

  1. WARM UP! Give me a good long solid warm up. Make sure your body is nice and warm and ready to work out again. What do we mean by warm? We mean we want you sweating! Increasing our body temperature helps prepare our muscles for the work we’re about to do.
  2. Stay hydrated! Dehydrated can honestly sometimes hide soreness. Your body can feel terrible when in all actuality, you haven’t drank a sip of water today. It’s important to keep your body hydrated and full of electrolytes! That’s what helps keep our body functions and also allows us to perform those hard workouts we’ve been thinking about. 
  3. Ice and heat. SO important to take care of yourself. Icing and heating is your new best friend. Something feel tight? Heat and stretch. Something just feel rough? Ice it!!!! Seriously- those things are the two keys to keep you feeling good. Take that to heart!
  4. Continue that cardio. Cardio helps to increase our blood flow! This helps brings nutrients to our muscles which helps them to recover faster. Cardio doesn’t have to be that high intensity workout or a hard run, it can be a nice brisk walk or a swim. Whatever your body needs! Every little bit of cardio helps the blood flow!

Moral of the story, your body is SO capable of so many things! Appreciate that. Give yourself some grace. Some days you may need to go lighted, and that is okay! Take it as it comes. Take it easy one day if that’s what you need, LISTEN to your body! We hope this rant brings you some clarity on what’s normal for soreness and what’s not normal. It’s normal to feel sore, but remember to constantly give yourself grace. You are doing amazing wherever you are at this moment! Keep pushing to where you want to be, but don’t forget to give yourself some grace in the process. 

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