I’ve worked with enough clients to know that people need to feel soreness after their workout to believe it is effective. And what better places to feel soreness then in their trouble spots. But when is the intensity too much? How much soreness is actually ok?
Working out is essentially about breaking down and rebuilding muscle fibers. When we exercise our bodies produce lactic acid as a bi-product which can lead to muscle soreness typically 24 to 48 hours later. If our bodies are pushed to a level of intensity that we are not accustomed to, soreness can be experienced anywhere up to a week post workout. This can be problematic if it is interfering with bending, changing positions, walking, carrying and normal daily activities. Especially when it comes to taking care of children, this soreness can really limit activities.
When figuring out what your own intensity should be, there needs to be a balance between what you like and your fitness level. Some people just like to have their butts kicked plain and simple. For this person feeling sore for a few days doesn’t impact their lifestyle. Others look to a trainer or group instructor for guidance and will do as they are instructed. This person may push themselves too far if not instructed on appropriate intensity and modifications. Most often the case, this person may not realize they are doing so at the time.
So how do we know when the intensity is too much? Take a moment and be honest with your body and fitness level. Do you have any injuries? Are you just starting an exercise program? Are you getting back into shape after having a baby? Once you know where you stand, look at your ability to perform the exercises. Are you able to keep up with a class? Are appropriate modifications given? Are you able to execute each exercise with reasonable form? Are you experiencing soreness during the class? If you aren’t sure if the exercises feel right, speak to your instructor directly.
I love a good workout. But I also love being able to go about my daily activities and play with my kids uninhibited. I don’t want any unnecessary soreness standing in my way. Your body should feel good after your workout. A workout is not any less effective if you are not feeling that delayed muscle soreness. A targeted exercise program with proper warmup, stretching and balanced exercises can give you strength gains without the pains.
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