Are sore muscles necessary?Sore muscles are definitely a sign that we’ve done something active, but are they a necessity for a great workout?

We’ve All Experienced Sore Muscles from a Workout

At some time or another, we’ve all felt the discomfort of sore muscles after a new or particularly intense workout. At first, it can feel as though we’re just fine, a bit fatigued, perhaps, but we can fool ourselves into thinking we’ve escaped anything more. Unfortunately, that’s when the ache starts to set in.

That evening, or even the next day, the sore muscles – also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) – kicks in.  Then, for that day, and possibly a second, our everyday activities can be more difficult and quite unpleasant.

Sore Muscles Are Uncomfortable but Are They Necessary?

Since they’re often the sign of having used our muscles in new ways or more intensely than what we would typically do, many people have come to believe that they’re an inevitable part of a great workout. In fact, it’s not uncommon to believe that without that feeling, we haven’t done enough.

Moderating the intensity of a workout and introducing new exercises into your sport or routine more gradually can help to reduce the occurrence or intensity of sore muscles after a workout. DOMS can be moderated in these ways. That said, it isn’t likely that it can be entirely avoided if you’re going to keep doing different types of workouts that are challenging to your body and that help you to achieve your health and wellness goals.

That said, this doesn’t mean that your workout wasn’t worthwhile if you didn’t experience DOMS.  In fact, not all intense workouts will result in this ache at all. It’s usually when you add more explosive exercises or push yourself beyond your current – and perfectly acceptable – workout that this will occur.

What Can You Do About DOMS?

Once muscle pain sets in, there isn’t too much you can do about it other than to let it run its course. That said, you can provide yourself with self-care and temporary relief with low intensity exercise such as yoga, walking or cycling, or by giving yourself fa muscle massage. That said, it will likely return again not long afterward and will stick around until you’ve fully recovered.

You can encourage recovery by treating your body well with nutritious meals and proper hydration, but on the whole, it really is a waiting game.