Myth: It’s a good idea to wait for your soreness to wear off before you workout again.

I will admit, I am one of the few who actually enjoys being sore. It may seem a bit like masochism, but I love being reminded of my stadium workout the day before as I get in and out of the car, walk around the grocery aisles, and chase my nephew around. However, it never really motivates me to go and do another workout…I think: maybe I should wait a day or 2 or 3…Unfortunately, that is not the best option to get the optimal results from my previous workout.

When muscles are sore that means they have tiny tears that need to be rebuilt so that stronger, more efficient muscles will be produced (through repetition and time). Waiting for soreness to disappear on it’s own only prolongs the pain and decreases the efficiency of recovery. What is best for soreness is light exercise with active stretching before and with plenty of water and static stretching afterwards.

Active stretching examples are arm circles, body weight squats, leg swings, calf raises, torso twists… these get your muscles warm and loose without holding them in a position.

Static Stretching is the most common form of stretching but is often executed poorly. Before you stretch and hold a muscle it needs to be warm. It should also be held for 15 to 30 seconds and then given a few seconds to relax before being stretched again. The muscle should feel pressure and slight discomfort, but no pain. If there is pain, there is too much stretch.

If you do these stretches before working out again, this will increase blood flow, which brings in fresh oxygen and nutrients to the muscles to help them rebuild. So, if your legs are really sore, warm them up and stretch. Then, give your upper body some attention. To keep from being overly sore again, make sure you do a thorough cool down (5-10 minute easy jog/walk), stretch, and drink lots of fluid.

Happy Soreness!