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How Sore is Too Sore After a Workout?

Firstly, is soreness bad?

Post-exercise soreness is a very normal response, particularly if the exercise is new to you, very high intensity, or if you’ve increased your resistance (upped your weights, for example). It’s also normal to be sore if you’ve had a break from a particular workout and then gone back to it a few weeks later. Essentially, if you’re using your muscles in a way they’re not entirely conditioned for, or used to being used, you’re likely to experience some soreness.

Can you workout when you’re already sore from a workout?

It is fine to workout with normal post-exercise soreness. In fact, it has been shown that the best way to combat this soreness is to get moving! Lighter exercise in this case may be more beneficial, think swimming, walking, or low resistance cross-trainer or bike. Unless there is a medical reason or injury to stop you, you can even do another high-intensity workout (although the discomfort might be a bit much!).


Is there any way of preventing soreness?

As mentioned above, this is a normal response to exercise. Ensuring that you stay properly hydrated during and after your workout, ensuring that you eat enough healthy protein and carbs after your workout, and taking time to stretch and warm down properly, should go some way to reducing the duration and intensity of this soreness.

How can I tell the difference between this soreness and an injury?

Normal post-exercise soreness usually comes on around 12-36 hours after a particular workout, and should subside within a few days. If the exercise you’ve been doing is symmetrical, your soreness is also likely to be symmetrical (or in the distribution of muscles you were using). If pain comes on during or shortly after your workout, or if it doesn’t subside within a few days, it is worth seeking advice from your local Osteopath, who are trained to assess and test your muscles, joints, and connective tissues (ligaments and tendons) for any injuries, and to advise you through the next steps of recovery.


Jemimah Nicholson

This post was written by Dr Jemimah Nicholson.

You can find out more about Jemimah here or book an appointment with her here.

Alternatively, you can call the clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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