If you’ve ever been to a Pilates Platinum class, then you’ve been sore. And, if you’re anything like us, that soreness is something you strive for. There is something that feels so good about being sore to the extent that you struggle to sit down in a chair.
Maybe it’s because it feels like validation that you had a great workout. But what it likely is is your subconscious mind knowing that those sore muscles equate to you building muscles.
But why exactly do muscles get sore?
Today we are answering that question, as well as what to do when you find yourself dealing with muscle soreness.
Why are my muscles sore from my workout?
You may not know this small but important fact: working out damages your muscle. Every time you push yourself in Pilates to the point where you fatigue your muscle, you are making micro-tears in your muscle fiber.
While that sounds incredibly painful and like it’s a bad thing, it’s not! You feel the soreness as a result, but this is something you want. Each time your muscles get those micro-tears, they work to repair themselves, which means they get stronger.
Every micro-tear that happens forces your body to create more muscle tissue which is where the muscle is built.
When your muscles are pushed like this, your body triggers inflammation. And, your body reacts to this inflammation by bringing fluid to the area, which results in soreness.
You may have heard that soreness is caused by lactic acid buildup, but that is not the case. The soreness you feel from your muscles is actually due to inflammation.
Do not see any of this as a bad thing. Micro-tears and inflammation are key to the recovery of your muscles as well as the rebuilding of your muscle tissue.
Many times you may not feel this inflammation and thus, soreness, until about 24-48 hours after your workout. This is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). The inflammation happens immediately, but it takes your body a while to feel it.
You should expect to feel the soreness for up to 4 days, but if it lasts longer than that, you may want to check in with a professional to ensure that you aren’t putting excess stress on your body.
How do I relieve muscle soreness?
Here are some of the best ways that you can relieve muscle soreness.
Drink water. Studies have shown that if you are dehydrated, you may suffer from muscle soreness more intensely. This may be because water helps the body to get rid of waste. When you exercise and your body experiences those micro-tears, your muscles release waste and toxins that should be flushed out of the body. These wastes may cause you to feel more sore, which is why water is key in helping you to get those toxins out of the body.
Do light stretching. You want to do a bit of stretching after a workout, but do not push your body too far. By trying to overstretch the muscle when it feels super tight, you may cause the muscle to become even tighter. Thus, keep your stretching light and never take it to the point where it feels painful.
Eat enough protein. Protein is key in building and maintaining muscle. Thus, you should be sure to have enough protein in your regular diet. However, if you are feeling extra sore after a workout, turn to a protein shake or another form of protein and you may find that helps to alleviate long-lasting soreness.
Sleep. Sleep is important as it gives your body a rest from doing many of its other duties and allows it to focus its attention on muscle recovery.