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Warming Up Does Not Prevent Muscle Soreness

Warming up does not prevent muscle soreness. The only way you can prevent the muscle soreness is to stop exercising when your muscles start to feel heavy and hurt, but stopping then will keep you from becoming a better athlete.

Muscle soreness is caused by damage to the muscle fibers. It is not caused by tightness, lactic acid buildup, cold muscles or swelling, so muscle soreness cannot be prevented by stretching, cooling down, warming up, or by taking aspirin.

Muscles contain two types of fibers: white fibers that govern strength and speed, and red fibers that govern endurance. When you exercise vigorously, most of the damage occurs in the white strength and speed fibers. To strengthen these fibers, you have to exercise intensely and through discomfort, which allows the fibers to tolerate greater forces on them and helps you to become stronger and faster, but it also causes soreness. So, all athletes train by stressing and recovering. On one day, they exercise hard and fast. On the next day or two, their muscles are sore. They do not exercise intensely again until the soreness disappears.

1) Jim Schwane U of Texas.

2) Richard Lieber U Cal San Diego.

3) Robert Armstrong U of Georgia in Athens

4) T Yamanouchi, R Ajisaka, K Sakamoto, M Toyama, T Saito, S Watanabe, Y Sugishita. Effect of warming of exercising legs on exercise capacity in patients with impaired exercise tolerance. Japanese Heart Journal 37: 6 (NOV1996):855-863. The findings of this study indicate that warming of exercising legs improves exercise capacity in patients with cardiac disease and low exercise tolerance.

Checked 8/31/08

May 12th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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