Why is the body sore after a workout? Pain and pleasure is not a welcoming mix for most of us. But the blood-pumping, full-body post-gym ache? That’s the good stuff. Here’s why it happens.

You know you’ve had a good workout when every single one of your muscles aches and bulges, every single pore sweats and your heart is pounding is so hard that you think it’s audible to others. But what is it that makes our bodies sore, exactly?

Delayed onset muscle soreness – handily abbreviated to D.O.M.S – is the technical term for the achiness we feel after exercises. It’s a ‘muscle fever’ that can present itself as pain after performing an unfamiliar workout, especially when its high intensity. It can leave us feeling nauseous and sometimes even ill. This is when we’ve gone too far with a workout we haven’t tried before – and we’ve all been through it. 

Severe post-workout feeling shows why it’s so important to get professional advice before starting exercise, such as Raw personal trainers who can guide you through your regime.

pain is pleasure
What’s responsible for muscle soreness?

It was previously thought that buildup of lactic acid was responsible for the soreness after a workout, however this can’t be factual because lactic acid is only prevalent one-two hours afterwards – and those aches and pains can last days.  The soreness you feel post-grind is actually the result of small tears in your muscles. These micro-tears trigger your muscles to grow and overly compensate for the activity you’ve just put them through – so they regenerate, creating new muscle fibre that makes us stronger. Another reason why we get sore when we exercise is due to an increase in our blood flow which can cause some fluid inflammation

Weakness can lead to feeling sore

It’s important to remember that ‘no pain no gain’ is a myth and the lack of soreness doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve not worked out well. On the contrary, we can still exercise to our best ability and increase muscle bulk without major impact. The gym ache is something that can have us running away from our club, never to return. But for many the ache is bearable and even pleasurable – it’s a pain that shows us what we’re doing is changing our bodies for the better.

This ache we feel is a specific pain or sore that is connected solely with the exercise, a soreness that can only be felt after a great workout. The acknowledgement that we’ve performed our best, linked with achievement, accomplishment, satisfaction and improvement to physical and mental health makes those aching thighs and tight biceps a pleasant pain. 

Some pain, however, isn’t bearable. Read our guide to stretching it out properly to avoid, prevent and even help with one of the most common pests of them all – back pain.

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