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Should I Still Workout If I'm Sore?

author image Lashina Wilson
Lashina Wilson has been writing since 2002. She has experience with academic writing, news releases, newsletters and e-magazine editing for Intrigue Media. Her expertise includes health and entertainment. Wilson holds a Bachelor of Science in applied biology from the University of Kingston and is a state-registered physiotherapist.
Should I Still Workout If I'm Sore?
Effective stretching can help with muscle soreness.

Soreness after working out is a normal response to exercise, especially if the activity you engaged in was more strenuous than your body is used to. Muscle soreness is your body's way of adapting to a new exercise regimen. Anyone from elite athletes to people who only work out occasionally can develop soreness within 24 to 48 hours of the activity and you can continue to do light exercise during that time.

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Muscle soreness is the result of minor tears in the muscle fibers and connective tissue around the muscle brought about by participating in an exercise which your muscles are not used to. It can occur because you are completely new to an exercise regimen or because you have intensified or changed your existing program significantly. In addition, if you allow a significant amount of time to elapse in your training program, getting back to exercise can also lead to muscle soreness.

Ease the Pain

Many studies have been done to find out if there is any way of reducing the pain once it occurs, according to the American Council on Exercise. Measures like stretching, icing the muscles, massage and the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are thought to have a minor effect if used immediately after exercise. It should be noted that, to date, no study has shown that any of these measures reduce the time that the soreness lasts, according to the American Council on Exercise. In general, pain starts to spontaneously diminish within 72 hours.


Once you experience delayed onset muscle soreness as a result of a specific activity, a rapid adaptation response means that you should not experience the same level of pain again if you continue to do that exercise over time. In short, your body gets used to the activity. If you increase the intensity of the activity, you may develop the symptoms again. You should progress your regimen gradually over time to minimize the chances of any potential soreness. The American Council on exercise recommends you start off a new program gently and build up the intensity over time. Take part in light exercise while your body adapts like gentle walking or swimming. Keeping the affected muscles active can be a relief.


Warming up, cooling down and stretching are important in any workout regimen. Warm up and cool down by walking briskly or jogging lightly immediately followed by stretching exercises. Muscle soreness usually only affects the muscles that were utilized during the workout. It is unlikely that your body will be able to cope with the same intensity of exercise while you are sore. Consider doing very light exercise for that particular muscle group and working on another muscle group while you are sore to aid recovery and reduce the chances of injury. Light exercise such as walking or swimming can increase blood circulation to the affected muscles helping them to recover. Do any additional exercise with caution as overexertion of sore muscles can lead to more pain, an extension of the duration of muscle soreness and swelling, according to an article published in Science Daily.

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