Why do muscles get sore? September 18, 2023 14:56

Muscles can get sore from exercise and hard physical work due to a phenomenon known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS typically occurs when you engage in unfamiliar or intense physical activities or when you increase the intensity or duration of your workouts. Here's why it happens:

  1. Microscopic muscle damage: During strenuous exercise or physical work, especially if you're pushing your muscles to work harder than they're accustomed to, tiny micro-tears can occur in the muscle fibers. This is a normal and necessary part of the muscle-building process.

  2. Inflammation: The micro-tears trigger an inflammatory response in your body. This inflammation is part of the healing process and is necessary for muscle repair and growth.

  3. Accumulation of waste products: As a result of intense muscle contractions, there can be an accumulation of waste products such as lactic acid and other metabolic byproducts. These substances can contribute to muscle discomfort and soreness.

  4. Muscle fatigue: Overexertion can lead to muscle fatigue, where the muscle fibers are pushed to their limits. Fatigued muscles are more prone to soreness.

  5. Eccentric contractions: Certain types of muscle contractions, called eccentric contractions, can cause more muscle damage than concentric contractions (muscle shortening). For example, lowering a heavy weight during weightlifting involves eccentric contractions and can lead to more soreness.

The soreness typically peaks 24-72 hours after the exercise and gradually subsides as your body repairs and adapts to the stress. It's important to note that DOMS is a normal part of the muscle-building process and does not necessarily indicate injury.