It is quite common to be a little stiff and sore after workouts – especially if you worked very hard, dramatically increased the duration or intensity of your exercise, changed your exercise routine or if you haven’t exercised for a little while.
It is very normal and in fact it is good. It is called DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) and is generally at its worst within the first two days following a new, intense activity. It is caused by microscopic tearing of the muscle fibres (don’t worry this is normal and supposed to happen) and is part of the adaption process that leads to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and build. In fact, if you’re never feeling any muscle soreness you may not be working out hard enough!
Movement helps! Go for a walk or a swim, have a massage or do some light stretching. Click here for some running race recovery tips from our blog that are valuable regardless of what activity caused your muscle soreness.
Please note that this sort of muscle pain / soreness / stiffness is not the same as the muscle pain or fatigue you experience during exercise. Nor is it like the sudden, sharp and intense pain of an injury such as a muscle strain or sprain that occurs during activity, often causing swelling or bruising. If you ever feel this sort of pain stop immediately and consult a doctor or specialist such as a physiotherapist.