How many of you have skipped a workout because you were sore? We’ve all done it at some point. We do a hard workout one day only to wake up the next morning unable to get out of bed. Unfortunately, being sore is a natural reaction to difficult exercise, and it is no excuse to skip your next gym day.

What Causes Muscle Soreness?

The pain you feel after a long workout is caused by a buildup of lactic acid inside the muscles.

This buildup of acid is a normal part of muscle metabolism, but it sometimes irritates the muscles, making you feel sore.

Is Muscle Soreness Bad?

Not at all. You feel sore after you’ve pushed your muscles, but feeling sore doesn’t mean they’re damaged. In fact, when muscles recover from soreness, they get stronger.

If you start to feel pain beyond soreness, like a burning pain, and are worried you may have hurt yourself, you should stop exercising right away. Seek medical help if the pain happens again.

What Do I Do When I’m Sore?

You’re first instinct may be to sit still and take it easy, but that will only succeed in making your muscles stiff and lengthening the healing process. Moving your muscles will increase blood flow to the sore areas and allow them to heal faster.

Some good ways to do this are to stretch or do some yoga, which will lengthen your muscles so they won’t feel as stiff. You can also accomplish this by taking an easy walk or getting a massage.

Icing and heating the sore muscles also helps open blood cells and circulate blood flow. You could switch from an icepack to a heating pad every 20 minutes, or you could take a hot bath to help relax your muscles.

How Do I Work out When I’m Sore?

You can keep following your usual workout routine even when you’re sore. Eating protein or drinking a protein shake before your workout will keep you from feeling as sore afterwards.

If you feel you’re too sore to do your normal workouts, you can always work different parts of your body until your sore muscles recover.

Ultimately, there is no reason to stop working out when you’re sore. If anything, working out actually helps your sore muscles recover faster than they would if you stayed home.

Looking for a workout that will get you nice and sore? Check out our fitness program!