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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

May 11th, 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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