Muscle soreness: Cause and remedy

knowledge musclesoreness 2

We bet you all know the feeling of sore muscles, right? Whereas some actually enjoy it, many rather suffer from it. Most of you will probably never forget your very first Freeletics muscle hangover. But what exactly is it that makes you feel stiff and aching sometimes? Is muscle soreness dangerous? Is it a sign of overtraining? In the following, we will briefly provide insight into what actually happens within your body, why you feel discomfort and pain and what you should pay attention to.

Why do we get muscle soreness?

When you put stress on your muscles for the first time at all, after a long time of inactivity or if you just use them very intensively, small microscopic tears will occur in the muscle fibers; so called microtrauma. During regeneration, these small damages get repaired. In the process, your muscle gets filled with oxygen and nutrients which causes it to swell. Thereby, it presses the nerves around it which we perceive as pain.

Since your body needs time to initiate these processes, muscle soreness often occurs not until one or even two days after training as so called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

In former times, people thought that lactic acid was the cause for DOMS. This has meanwhile been disproved – however, it is still a popular misunderstanding and widespread superficial knowledge.

Is muscle soreness dangerous?

No! The good news is: It sounds worse than it actually is. Your body adapts to your training regimen and repairs these microscopic tears in order to become more powerful; in other words to gain strength and endurance. Every workout makes your body more resistant. Thus, aching muscles will become less frequent and soreness less intense. However, if occurring muscle soreness persists for several days, you could be on the brink of serious injury and therefore, in the interest of safety, should consult a doctor.

Have I trained too little if I don’t feel any muscle soreness?

Not having stiff muscles does not mean that your muscles do not develop. During your career as a free athlete, your body keeps adapting to the stress your body goes through during a workout. As a result, the repair of microtrauma becomes less demanding physically. Nevertheless, the above mentioned regeneration processes still cause an adaption and make your muscles more powerful. So don’t worry even if you might feel no soreness at all. This can also be a good sign: You have improved significantly and your body has adapted to the challenges.

Why does Freeletics give you severe muscle soreness?

Freeletics challenges your whole body. Complex movement patterns demand your bigger groups of muscles, such as your chest or thigh muscles, as well as smaller minor muscles, like in your core or shoulder girdle, to work at the same time – at high intensity. This is why many athletes get sore muscles after their first Freeletics workouts, even if they are experienced ones.

New movement patterns will always demand a lot from your muscular system. Throughout your Freeletics career, you will get to know more and more of these patterns. But as soon as your body learns to adjust, you will experience less soreness.

Can you treat muscle soreness?

There is no panacea for muscle soreness. You just have to give your body the time it needs to recover. Different treatments work differently for many athletes. We as Freeletics explicitly ask you to avoid any form of serious training in case of severe pain! Continuing your training might lead to an increase of the micro tears within your muscles and therefore severe damage in the long-run. However, we recommend a slight stretching of the affected muscles, as well as light exercises such as walking or swimming. With this, you increase the flexibility of and the blood flow within your muscular system and can therefore effectively support the healing process.

Suffering from aches and pains that don’t seem to get better? We always advise you to visit your doctor or sports orthopedic. Better safe than sorry.

If you want to know more about this, you can read here and here.