After my fantastic, cardio & toning workout Wednesday, I woke up in the middle of the night almost unable to move due to an incredibly sore lower back! It didn’t help that I was lying on my stomach, causing my back to arch a little. I slowly managed to roll to my side and curl up knees, relieving the lower back pressure. I woke up realizing I’d really worked out my lower back, shoulder blades, love handles, & shoulders (even though my shoulders are so broad that I don’t work them directly). Yes, that’s my polite, Personal Trainer way of saying: I was SORE!
Is soreness good or bad? It depends on the severity of it. Mine was a good sore: letting me know I’d gotten a good workout the previous day. A bad sore would be so severe that I really couldn’t move or soreness that severely limited my ability to do daily tasks.
It’s officially called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Here are a couple web articles about the topic: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/injuries/a/doms.htm
Basically, it’s caused by over-exertion coming from doing something new to the muscle. So newbies to exercise will feel sore after the first few workouts. In my case, it was the increased intensity of the exercise that caused the soreness. Changing exercises can cause it too: if you’re a runner and you try biking, you’ll feel sore because you are using your leg muscles in a different way. To build muscle, you overuse it, causing micro-tears in the muscle fibers, which cause soreness while they repair and rebuild themselves stronger. While repairing, the fibers build stronger bonds and more of them, i.e., bigger muscles. That’s why they always recommend waiting 48 hr between strength workouts of the same muscles groups: to give them enough time to recover.
My advice for sore muscles is to do light cardio, like a walk, to warm up the muscles, followed by lots of slow stretching. If it’s bad, I’ll take Advil. Personally, I went running to relieve the pain.