We all know exercise is good for us. A brisk walk in the park, a cycle ride, a workout at the gym with strengthening exercises to get all the major muscle groups going – it’s important to keep moving to stay healthy.
But what if we’re feeling worse for wear the next day, and it hurts just to lift an arm or leg? Can it be detrimental to our health if we continue to work those sore, painful muscles. After all, exercising is supposed to make us feel great, right?
“Depending on how intense your workout was, it’s OK to exercise when you’re sore. However, if you had a particularly hard workout, I would recommend giving yourself a day to recover, otherwise you could cause potential damage,” says Lucy Arnold, personal trainer, fitness brand Locket Loves.
“If you do work out when sore, make sure you have plenty of protein to ensure reparation of the muscles. And don’t exercise the same group of muscles that are hurting, focus on something else.
“The best thing you can do is listen to your body, if it’s telling you to rest, rest. One day isn’t going to make any difference in your training,” says Lucy.
What causes the soreness?
“When you workout, you’re tearing your muscles, which is causing the soreness. It’s a great pain, and completely natural after an intense workout or cardio. There isn’t any harm in working out every day, but it’s important not to focus on the same groups of muscles, as this is where damage is done.”
Here are some of Lucy’s other guidelines…
Change your routine
“If you have a leg day, make sure you have an arm or shoulder day the next day. Or if you have a heavy cardio day, then have a low impact day or do machine work the next. This will not only ensure your body gets a full workout, but it will also ensure your muscles get the recovery time they need to help you build strength as well as muscle.”
Don’t work the same muscles over and over again
“Remember, working out consistently on your arms isn’t going to work unless you’re also training your back and shoulders, and the same goes for your core and legs. You need to condition your body and ensure it all works together.”
Have a rest day
“You also need to allow yourself to rest and don’t feel guilty if you need a day or two off to recover, you’ll feel all the better for it.
“And unless you’re specifically training for something, and you know what you’re doing, never work out more than once a day if your muscles are sore as this will only cause problems, and prevent you from being able to workout in the long run.”
Stretch after you work out
“Take time to do some extra stretching at the end of your workout. And if you’re having a rest day, easy movements and a few stretches before going to bed and first thing in the morning helps the blood circulate better and can improve your recovery time.”
How often do you hit the gym? Tell us in the comments box below.