Everything About Body Aches

It's normal for our muscles to ache after working out in the gym. There are different theories about what causes these pains. The key is to avoid and reduce them as much as possible to continue with our training.
Everything About Body Aches

Last update: 26 April, 2019

After an intense session at the gym, you probably think, “tomorrow my whole body will ache”. However, we often don’t know exactly why this discomfort happens. Hence, in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about post-training body aches.

Body aches: why do they appear after training?

It’s as if they’re a reminder that we had a demanding workout the day before. Muscle aches are caused by the so-called eccentric muscle contractions.

They occur when the muscles contract and stretch repeatedly with a certain amount of weight or load. Therefore, pain can also appear when we make an unusual movement; such as climbing a ladder, carrying something heavy, playing with children, etc.

Generally, muscle pains are stronger when there’s no previous training. That’s why it’s more common for us to hurt all over when we’ve spent several days without exercising due to vacations or we’re sick. Not to mention when many years of a sedentary lifestyle have gone by!

Until recently, people would believe that late-onset muscle pain was the result of the accumulation of lactic acid in the cells. However, today there’s a theory that claims muscles are damaged after a demanding increase in physical activity. That’s when it starts to hurt or we experience stiffness.

Muscle pains are stronger when there's no previous training.

How to avoid or reduce body aches due to exercise?

For many, muscular pains are a clear sign that we’ve worked hard and trained properly. For others, the pain is just suffering and an indication that they don’t have to exercise.

In any case, you should know that you can’t avoid this pain bacause, in one way or another, the body is reacting to an effort.

Nonetheless, we can manage to reduce the intensity of the symptoms. How? Through rest. This means that if you went to the gym yesterday, today you should stay at home or perform a simpler exercise, such as walking.

One of the most common mistakes that people make at the gym is not warming up before exercising. This can increase the chances of suffering muscle pains the next day.

Additionally, when finishing up the routine, it’s essential to stretch the areas that we were working on. Consider that both warm-ups don’t take more than 10 minutes and can make a difference in the next 24 hours.

Another useful tip is to eat properly if you’re exercising. What does this mean? Well, at the end of the session, we recommend consuming a good dose of protein and carbohydrates. A bowl of milk or yogurt with whole grains may be a good choice. People suffering from stiffness usually eat bananas.

Move slowly to avoid injuries

Besides all the previous advice, we recommend that you perform the exercises gradually so the muscles you’re training don’t suffer so much from one day to the next; especially if you haven’t trained for a long time or if you’ve never done it. On your first class, you can’t expect to exercise at the same pace as those who’ve been training for years.

It's important not to exert yourself beyond your capabilities.

Going step by step is a good way to guard yourself not only from muscular pains but also from injuries caused by overexertion. You don’t want to suffer a torn ligament, a dislocation, or tendinitis on your first day. You have to pay attention to the signs that your body gives you.

If you can’t do an exercise, don’t be depressed or feel inferior. Do it at your own pace, with the weight you can handle and always complying with the correct technique.

On the other hand, we advise you not to consume medicines or anti-inflammatories, not even preventively. Moreover, avoid the use of analgesics that only mask the symptoms of a possible injury.

Muscular pains are a must in the life of athletes, even amateurs. That doesn’t mean that we should suffer them to a great extent. With proper care and rest, everything will return to normal and we can return to the routine without problems.

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  • Lopategui, E. (2012). La prescripción de ejercicio. Fisiología Del Ejercicio.