Stiffness, pain and rest: What we should know about each of them

When talking about physical exercise, terms such as soreness, pain or rest often appear in people’s queries and searches online and, in addition, are often objects of numerous myths (such as drinking water with sugar to end the laces ).

However, although all these terms are related to each other, each one has its particularities, truths and myths, and to be clear about what we can and can not do when we suffer some of them, it is important not to ruin our training and our health.

What they are and why they are produced

Some time ago, we did a double post in which we tackled a simple question but that sometimes we do not know very well how to answer: What are really the aches? and if we know

If we go directly to the definition of the word, we would find ourselves with this: ” delayed onset muscle pain (DMAT) or late-onset post-exercise muscle pain accompanied by muscle inflammation”.

An important point is to know how to differentiate the laces from a real injury: while the laces appear later (they may appear up to 48 hours later), we will notice an injury during sports practice.

There are different theories about what are shoelaces, why and how they occur :. Some of them are:

  1. Microtroturas of muscular fibers : it is the theory more accepted by the scientific community, and makes reference to that the muscular pain appears as a consequence of the micro-fracture of the muscular fibersduring the accomplishment of the physical exercise.
  2. Temperature locally increased in the muscles : this theory is based on the fact that during the practice of the exercise the muscle is heated and in some areas “micro-injuries” occur. While it has some similarity with the theory of muscle micro-tears, the scientific community is awaiting further research in this regard .
  3. Accumulation of lactic acid : theory that has been totally denied by the scientific community and that was based on the formation of “crystallites” of lactic acid in the muscles , which would cause the characteristic pain of the laces. The reason why this theory was discarded was because patients suffering from McArdle’s disease , which are unable to produce lactic acid, also experienced stiffness when performing a physical overexertion.

Treatment of the laces

Given that, as we have mentioned, soreness is itself a muscle injury , the guidelines to follow for its treatment may be similar to other cases of fiber rupture:

  • Ice : the application of ice (or cryotherapy techniques) can help reduce the inflammation caused by micro-tears and anesthetize local pain.
  • Rest : it is very important to know how to stop in time and not continue training despite the stiffness (we insist again that they are fiber micro-tears and that can end up being a bigger break).
  • Use of anti-inflammatories : the application of an anti-inflammatory ointment could help reduce the inflammation caused by micro-tears.

Suppose we have done sports and, despite having warmed up, stretched and done everything correctly, two days later we are suffering the dreaded stiffness. How to fight them?

Myths about shoelaces

  • Stretches prevent stiffness : no, stretches do not prevent stiffness. With stretching, what we want to achieve is to prepare the muscle for the exercisewe are going to perform.
  • The shoelaces are good : as we have said, the shoelaces are microrroturas of fibers, and therefore it is not something that we can catalog of good.
  • You must train the next day : this myth was common when there was a belief that the laces were crystallites of lactic acid that formed in the muscle, and it was said that to break them the best thing was to go train the next day . Nowadays, knowing that the laces are microrroturas of fibers in the muscle, fortunately this myth has been banished.
  • The stiffness appears because the exercise has been done well : it does not have to. Rather it means that we have taken our body too far to the extremeand it has reacted by resenting itself and the micro-tears have occurred.

Pain: why ” no pain, no gain ” is harmful to us

Our body is an almost perfect machine, and he knows better than anyone when he should send us a signal that something is not right. Therefore, when symptoms of pain appear , something is failing inside us.

In the golden age of old school bodybuilding (Schwarzenegger, Columbu, Ferrigno, Oliva …) the ” no pain, no gain ” was a mantra that everyone repeated in their training and that was perpetuated until almost the present time. With the passage of time and the proliferation of studies, little by little it was verified that it was not true, and that if during the workouts there was pain it was because there was no going well and our body was trying to warn us.

Because of this, we must listen to our body when we send an “alarm” signal and know how to stop in time. It will be much better to cut a workout in half than finish it with a more or less serious injury.

Rest: why is it so important

Rest is a factor that unfortunately sometimes tend to underestimate , either talking about rest between sets during a workout or in relation to sleep hours, but which is of great importance when we move to the section of training and sports .

During periods of rest is when our body recovers and begins to perform adaptive processes to the effort we have made (speaking of rest in training). In the same way, there is a process called supercompensation that is intimately related to the periods of rest and rest.

What this process tells us is that during the break our body begins to “assimilate” the effort made during the exercise and works to return to the previous levels and, if everything is correct and we rest well, we will generate adaptations such that Recovery will take us to be slightly above our previous state and, therefore, to the same effort later, our body will fatigue less .

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