What helps against sore muscles?

Unfortunately, sore muscles do not mean that we have exercised effectively - but that we have put too much strain on our muscles. What helps against sore muscles?
Sometimes our sporting zeal has nasty aftermath - especially after unaccustomed strain. Then we wake up the morning after the workout and feel muscles in places where we would never have suspected them (pull-up, you scoundrel!).

Sore muscles are unpleasant, but not dangerous. However, sore muscles are not a reason for joy either, because they force us to take a break from sports and reduce our training success, because recovery takes much longer than after a usual fitness workout.

How does a sore muscle develop?
Not always, when we have muscle pain after sport exercises, we get muscle soreness afterward. The set training stimulus is actually good because it encourages the muscle to grow and makes it more enduring. Sometimes, however, we strain the muscles too much and thus destroy the smallest structures in the tissue, the muscle fibers. The function of the proteins actin and myosin contained in them, which combine with each muscle shortening (contraction), is then disturbed. Water gets into the fibers through the fine cracks. They swell and stretch. The pain that results from the stretching is what we know as muscle soreness.

So it is micro-injuries in the muscle and not, as long claimed, an overproduction of lactic acid (lactate) that causes the pain. Moreover, the increased lactic acid level caused by physical exertion regulates itself within 20 minutes - in other words, long before the muscle soreness sets in.

Muscles that we rarely use are particularly susceptible to soreness. But it can also affect other muscle groups. Eccentric (braking) stress, in particular, can cause small tears in the muscle tissue and thus muscle soreness. The best example: lame legs after a long descent from a mountain. But there are also eccentric movements in classic weightlifting: For example, if we lower the dumbbell bar while braking during biceps training, we stretch the contracted (contracted) muscle. This stimulus has a stronger effect than the concentric one, lifting the weight.

Can I continue training normally despite muscle soreness?
No. Sore muscles are a warning signal from the body. The fibers in the aching muscle are injured and an injury must be cured - without painkillers. If you continue to train anyway, you risk additional damage and serious injuries such as very painful muscle fiber tears. The constant repairing of damaged muscle cells also causes the body to wear out faster.

If the workout was too vigorous, the affected muscle areas need to be spared - the overused fibers don't need any additional stress. Next time, we should train with the same or slightly reduced intensity. Our muscles adapt relatively quickly to new stresses, but in the case of muscle soreness, the cells in the muscle must first repair the damage caused. There is not enough time for the muscle fibers to grow. However, we don't have to endure it completely without exercise - on the contrary: anything that relaxes the body and promotes blood circulation accelerates the recovery process and makes us fit again quickly. For example, yoga exercises ...

After a strain, a muscle is only fully recovered after two to three days of rest, depending on the intensity of the training. To prevent muscle soreness and overload, it is recommended to vary the training focus and, for example, alternate endurance and strength training, do a strength-endurance combination or focus on different muscle parts.

Don't despair if the soreness comes anyway
Even with the best preparation, we can still get sore muscles. If we want to achieve a certain athletic goal, we must sometimes overcome our performance limits and accept pain. New and unfamiliar stresses can also lead to sore muscles, even if we haven't completely exhausted ourselves. Nevertheless, we don't want to do without it, do we? The feeling when the pain subsides is the best anyway ...


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