How to Reduce the Chance of Burning Muscles Post-Workout

If you work out too long or too vigorously, you set up a scenario for injury. Muscle injury typically includes symptoms such as pain, swelling and a burning sensation.

Muscles burn after a workout as the body begins the repair process. (Image: PeopleImages/iStock/GettyImages)

Muscle injuries can occur at any fitness level, but a beginner is more likely to experience muscle burning after a workout simply because his body has not had sufficient time to adapt to the demands of exercise. This is why you need to begin an exercise program slowly.

Warmth After Exercise

An explanation behind the warm feeling you have after exercise may lie in the effects of exercise on the body. Any exercise that builds strength has the potential to cause muscle damage.

During strength training, this is a common occurrence. The damage affects the muscle fibers and tears develop. This process triggers an immune system response by your body to begin the repair of the damage.

Inflammatory Response to Exercise

The inflammatory response of the immune system describes a collection of symptoms that ultimately lead to the warmth or burning you feel. Certain types of white blood cells increase that are partly responsible for stimulating the release of histamine.

Histamine causes your blood vessels to dilate to increase blood flow to the damaged site. The walls of the blood vessels become more porous or leaky to allow the white blood cells to enter. This action induces redness, warmth and swelling.

The heat serves two functions. It can speed up reactions in the repair process. It can also create an inhospitable environment for microbes that can cause infection.

Muscle Burn After Exercise

The warm sensation you feel after working out is a positive sign that the body is responding to the exercise-induced damage. The symptoms leading to the muscle burn after exercise indicate the body's attempt to speed up recovery.

The dilated blood vessels make it easier for the circulatory system to remove damaged cells. This also ensures ready availability of fuel and nutrients to further support the body's actions. Even though you may feel discomfort, your body is responding appropriately.

Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness

While the body's response to exercise has several health benefits, it may also play a role in delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This term describes the aching you feel after exercising. This type of soreness typically develops 24 to 72 hours after a workout and can be accompanied by stiffness, according to a 2015 article published by South African Family Practice.

Lactic acid was once believed to be the cause, but medical research now suggests that the inflammatory response triggered by exercise may be at the root.

DOMS occurs no matter what your fitness level, although certain activities, such as strength training, jogging, jumping, walking downhill and step aerobics, are known to cause this condition, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

You can help prevent DOMS by warming up and cooling down before and after exercise. Gradually increasing the intensity of a new exercise routine will also help reduce overall soreness and muscle burning after a workout.

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