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Be a Good Listener To Your Body

Or You’ll Be Sorry

It’s natural for a guy in pursuit of a goal to have selective hearing. No one who feels as though they are making progress wants to have to make adjustments or stop the pursuit altogether. When it comes to staying in good physical health though, you need to be able to listen closely to what your body is telling you or you could wind up with a serious injury that puts your fitness goals on hold for the foreseeable future.

If you are new to the workout game as a whole or if you are trying a completely new approach, it’s natural to experience some muscle soreness. Even if you have a decent amount of experience in the gym and decide to push particularly hard during a session, you could wake up the next day with muscle aches and pains. The key to staying healthy is to recognize the difference between residual muscle soreness from attacking a new movement and the pain associated with an impending injury.

The Importance of DOMS

Many trainees look for what is referred to as “delayed onset muscle soreness,” or DOMS, after a heavy weight training session, because they see it as an indication of an effective workout. If you perform a heavier than usual leg training session and experience a bit of soreness while walking up and down stairs or getting into and out of your chair for twenty four hours or so following, that’s usually nothing to be too concerned about.

Listen or you'll never get here

Your normally scheduled day or two of rest in between workouts should be plenty of time for complete recovery if all you are experiencing is DOMS. If there is no residual soreness, pain or discomfort, you should be fine to continue on with your regularly scheduled workout without fear.

If you perform an intense leg training session that is followed by swelling, serious muscle stiffness or constant pain or if you experience even moderate levels of soreness for a period of longer than 36-48 hours, there’s a good chance that you worked a bit too hard. Single sessions which are taken a bit too far can often be treated with ice, over the counter anti-inflamatories and plenty of rest. To ensure that you remain as close to injury free as possible, refrain from your regular training sessions until the signs of soreness have completely dissipated. It’s also a good idea to take the over the top training session as a lesson to prevent future possibilities of going too far beyond your limits. Regularly training your body beyond safe levels can result in tendonitis, stress fractures and other potential issues that need to be treated by a physician.

This goes beyond strength training as well; you should pay careful attention to what your body is telling you following any form of vigorous activity. Excessively long running sessions, particularly intense mountain bike rides and even serious games of flag football can push you beyond your physical limits. Just as with going overboard on the weights, these activities can result in delayed onset muscle soreness. If you experience anything beyond mild to moderate soreness, or if your pain doesn’t subside after a few days, it’s a good sign that you’ve outperformed your current fitness level and that you should take a rest.

No pain, no gain is a long time favorite expression of all varieties of athletes and trainees. While there could certainly be an element of truth to this statement, you’ve got to make sure that the pain that you are feeling falls under the category of good pain (DOMS) as opposed to bad pain, which could seriously inhibit the progress toward your goal.

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About Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson has been involved in some form of sports and athletic training for more than two decades: as an athlete, a trainer and a writer.

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