If a workout leaves me with sore muscles the next day, should I rest?
By Michael Castleman for Live Right Live Well
Not necessarily, says muscle-soreness researcher Patria Hume, Ph.D.,
a professor of human performance in the School of Sport and Recreation
at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.
When you start a new exercise or push your body beyond what it’s
accustomed to, you can develop “muscle micro-injuries” -- tiny tears in
overworked muscle fibers. This is what causes that familiar soreness 24
to 48 hours after a new workout, explains Hume. But this “delayed-onset
muscle soreness” or DOMS, as it’s called, is medically minor, and
there’s no need to stop exercising. Instead, “reduce the intensity and
duration of [your] exercise for a day or two” until the soreness clears
up, advises Hume.
In the meantime, aspirin or ibuprofen can help relieve the soreness
and reduce the inflammation that causes it, report researchers at The
University of Georgia. Massage can also help, according to an
But one popular DOMS treatment does not work: stretching before
and/or after exercise. Researchers at the University of Sydney,
Australia, reviewed 10 studies of stretching to prevent or treat DOMS.
In every one, “the effects were very small.” Stretching before exercise
reduced DOMS by only half a percent, while stretching after exercise
reduced DOMS just one percent.
Finally, while DOMS is not serious, major injury to muscles, tendons
or ligaments can be. How to tell the difference? DOMS occurs a day or
two after you work out, whereas major injury causes immediate, sharp
pain and swelling. So if you’re sore from that new workout you did a
day or two ago, that’s no excuse to stop. Ease up on the gas but keep
To feature this article:
- please select all code below (Ctrl. + A)
- copy to your clipboard (Ctrl. + C) and
- paste (Ctrl. + V) into your website