Exercise when your Muscles are Sore?

Will you recover faster from a hard tennis match or a long run by resting, or by exercising at a leisurely pace?

Most experienced athletes find that they recover faster by going easy the next day. On the day after you exercise vigorously, your muscles feel sore because they are damaged, and running fast with sore muscles injures them. However, studies at the University of Massachusetts showed that athletes who exercise leisurely on the day after hard workouts are less likely to be injured than those who recover by taking the day off. Exercising during recovery causes muscles to grow more fibrous tissue that helps protect them from injury.

You can adapt these findings to your sport or exercise program. On one day, scrimmage hard in basketball for several hours, and on the next day, practice your shooting and set up plays. On one day, run or ride hard and then go slowly on the next day. If you work out more than once a day, follow each hard workout with at least three easy ones.

European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1992; 64:350-353.

Checked 8/9/08

Get our newsletter