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8 Reasons Why You’re Sore–#1: Sleep

One of the most common complaints I get from new trainees (most often these come from middle aged men who are just now getting back into strength training) is that of being sore all of the time.  Many people associate muscular soreness with getting a good workout or getting results.  However, the research does not necessarily support this thought process.  Muscles tend to get sore anytime a new stimulus is introduced (new exercise, activity, etc), but this should typically subside within 2-3 weeks of starting the activity.  Anytime a new exercise is introduced, it is expected that some level of soreness will occur.  However, a good program will actually have an introduction phase where weight and volume are intentionally reduced in order to avoid excessive soreness, as this can negatively impact future workouts.  If you are chronically sore beyond the initial 2-3 weeks of starting a strength training program, there are eight areas that you may need to pay attention to.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

#1–Sleep

Sleep is one of the most neglected areas of health, fitness, and recovery.  It can have some of the most dramatic impacts on improving any of these areas, but can also be one of the most difficult areas to improve. We only have 24 hours in a day and we must divide this time between sleeping, eating, work, family/social time, leisure activities, and training.  Your priorities will dictate which areas you spend the most time on.  One thing that is often overlooked however, is that increased sleep (both quantity and quality) can help in many of these areas.  It has been shown that better sleep improves cognitive function (better function at work), makes you more efficient, improves mood (better for friends and family), improves hormonal profiles (better for health), and improves performance and recovery.  If you struggle to get enough sleep, try to set a better schedule for yourself to allow for earlier bedtime and/or a later wake time.  If you struggle with sleep quality, try to establish better sleep hygiene practices.  Common recommendations are to sleep 7-9 hours per night (kids need more like 9-12 hours/night).  However, some research suggests that hard training individuals may need 9-10 hours of sleep for optimal results.

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