What is muscle soreness? | Sanitas magazine

Are sore muscles after exercise always a bad sign?

Muscle soreness

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Muscle soreness is caused by minor “damage” to the microstructure of the muscles – the muscles swell up and harden around the injuries. The body uses this protective reflex mechanism to prevent the “injured” muscle from being moved and subject to further strain. It works in a similar way to the cast applied by a doctor when you break a leg.

However, muscle soreness is also an indication that the muscle structure is getting stronger as the body builds up muscle to prevent the micro-injuries from occurring again. But the muscles adapt to the required power very quickly. So if you want to promote muscle growth you have to provoke these micro-tears through renewed training.

It’s important to realise that there are different kinds of muscle soreness. One cause is overexertion through excessive training, but muscle soreness can also be caused by repeating movements that the body isn’t used to. That’s why even people who are in good shape can experience sore muscles when they try out a new sport, for example.

Muscle soreness may be painful, but it’s not dangerous unless you continue to train too intensively. In this case, the micro-tears can develop into muscle strain and, in the worst case, a muscle tear.

Andreas Tasci’s tips on how to ease sore muscles:   

  • Drink plenty of water and take vitamin C to support regeneration.   
  • Do moderate exercise to stimulate blood circulation and help repair micro-tears.   
  • After an intensive training session, don’t stretch too long or too intensively because this can cause greater damage to the torn muscle fibres. It’s better to stretch for short intervals and then release.


Andreas Tasci, Master personal trainer

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