Muscle Soreness

Is it normal for your muscles to feel sore for several days after a workout?

After you've exercised vigorously, your muscles may feel fine, but they usually feel sore the next morning. This is called Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), and it is caused by damage to muscle fibers. A study from the University of Zurich helps to explain why it takes days for muscles to recover from hard exercise. Muscles store sugar as glycogen in their fibers for energy, and this study shows that for the first few hours after hard exercise, muscles continue to lose glycogen.

Since recovery depends on refilling muscles with stored glycogen as soon as possible after hard exercise, athletes should eat a high-carbohydrate, high protein meal as soon as possible after a hard workout and then take easy workouts for as many days as it takes for the soreness to go away. Taking another hard workout while the muscles feel sore increases risk for injures, so you should follow your hard workouts with easy days or days off until the soreness goes away.

European Journal of Nutrition, June 2004

Checked 9/29/08

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