Working out is never fun. Many times it is likened to torture. When working out the body strains greatly and it is said that without pushing yourself to the limit, then there is little effect. I believe the saying no pain no gain is mostly suited to people who are working out.
Working out is done to achieve fitness, to lose weight, to gain endurance, to gain power, or to put on mass in form of muscles. All these are activities that are done to force the body into change. This is not easy. Many times the body would want to maintain its present state.
When one begins working out, especially beginners, the body will protest loudly in the way of excruciating sores especially in the muscles that were strained the most. These sores can even make one immobile. This condition is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It usually occurs when muscles have been subjected to a sudden increased working intensity. As such it does not only occur when beginning to workout but can also occur when you up the intensity of your workout routines.
The pain that is felt starts several hours after the workout and can last several days. The pain is caused due to the lengthening and shortening of the muscles in question. This causes some damages to occur to the muscles. Some people claim that delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is as a result of the building up of lactic acid which then later becomes a toxic waste and causes the pain. This theory has however been hugely rejected because lactic acid is known to be cleared from the muscles within an hour.
DOMS, or the soreness of muscles after intense workout can be reduced by several methods. One way is by taking it easy when beginning a particular workout routine. For example, if you are rowing, it is important to take it easy without going too fast or pulling too hard. The intensity can then be gradually increased. If you are lifting weights, start with lighter weights and less reps. Increase this gradually. If you are running, run shorter distances at less speed before upping the tempo.
Using well-fitting garments such as socks or calf sleeves during the workout sessions can help in reducing the contractions of the muscles and hence help prevent soreness later. Massages and hot water baths will cause more blood flow into the muscles and may help in easing the soreness. Continued working out of the sore muscles is also known to alleviate the soreness.
There has been a belief that stretching muscles before and after working-out will reduce muscle soreness. This is false. Muscle soreness is caused by the stretching and relaxing of muscles and stretching by itself could be a cause of the soreness. Muscle soreness is also not treated by cold water or ice. It is also false to believe that muscle soreness is an indication of muscle growth.
Muscle soreness is not a severe condition and should not stop one from working-out. One should continue working out until the muscles are adapted to the activity.