GETTING INTO SPORT FOR THE FIRST TIME OR AFTER A LONG BREAK... HOW CAN YOU PREVENT ACHES AND PAINS?

Today you have decided! It's time to start or get back into sport! As we're sure you know, starting or resuming physical exercise after a long break can result in a few aches and pains.

prevent muscle ache

We must admit, even if they do give a certain feeling of accomplishment when they set in, it is not a particularly pleasant experience. But never fear, we have gathered some tips for you on how to avoid them!

Why does doing sport lead to aches and pains?

To start with, don't worry about it, muscle aches after exercise are normal, harmless and happen to everyone, from beginners to top athletes. Following physical exercise, your muscle cells, which have been under a repeated and unusual amount of strain, will have micro-injuries (muscle damage). During the recovery phase, your damaged muscle tissue will regenerate. This is what causes the muscle pain. Yet it is a positive signal sent by the body, proof that you have had a good workout and that you are making progress!

Can they be avoided?

Everyone reacts differently depending on the duration and type of exercise their body has been through. In other words, it is impossible to say with any certainty whether or not the aches and pains can be avoided. However there are a few tips and tricks that can help make them less severe.

hydration

Hydrate yourself before exercise, don't wait until you are thirsty

Our muscles are 75% water. The water ensures the proper functioning of our muscles and promotes their recovery. Conversely, dehydration weakens the muscles and therefore promotes the tearing of muscle fibres. And being thirsty is a sign of dehydration! So don't wait until you are thirsty; drink before, during and also after exercise.

Start with a good warm-up

Warming up means getting your body ready to react to exercise that will require the use of your ligaments, muscles, tendons, nervous system and cardiovascular system. Ideally, your warm-up should last between 10 and 30 minutes and should be of moderate intensity and progressive. Start by warming up your joints and going for a jog, for example. This will prevent you from hurting yourself and reduce the risk of having aches and pains in the days following your workout.

Go at your own pace to keep going for longer

The way you train is important. Obviously, if you are just starting or getting back into sport after a long break, it is best to start slowly, and increase your pace with each session. The more at ease you feel, the more you can increase the frequency and difficulty of your workouts.

time

Take your time after exercise

After exercise, you might be tempted to collapse on the floor before heading off for a nice hot shower. You need to cool down after exercising your muscles to rid them of lactic acid. Walk, cycle at a slow pace or jog to relax your body, don't just stop suddenly. When you use your muscles, they contract and shorten. Relaxing them during a gradual cooldown will help them return to their original shape.

You're on the right track, keep it up!

Now that you have started or got back into sport you need to keep up the pace, even if you are feeling the effects of the first session! With regular training your body will become used to the exercise. As you continue your sessions, you will feel more comfortable and your muscle recovery will be less painful. So don't even think about giving up when you're on the right track, get your trainers back on and head out again! :)

Listen to your body

Of course, before you set off again, don't forget to listen to your body. It may need a rest, especially if you have not been active for a long time. To avoid any risk of injury and give yourself time to recover, we recommend that you set yourself a reasonable training schedule, taking into account your physical fitness and your ability to recover.

Active recovery is best

Now that your body is feeling the after-effects of getting back into sport, you might be wanting to stay in bed for a few days. However, it is best to keep moving to promote blood circulation and optimise your recovery. Of course, you have to let your muscles rest, but we nonetheless recommend doing gentle activities such as walking.  

massage

Give yourself a massage

Self-massage is an effective recovery technique, which requires little physical effort and will relieve your muscles. It promotes blood circulation and, as such, the elimination of toxins. You can use oils, anti-inflammatory creams or massage balls and rollers.

Should I do more sport?

Depending on your fitness level and how much your body is aching, it is not recommended to do more exercise immediately after. In the following days, we suggest that you opt for activities that will not put excessive muscular strain on the parts that have already suffered. For example, you could choose cycling, walking or yoga.

Now that you know the cause of muscle aches, you know that they are not always preventable, but hopefully you have a better understanding. They might well be uncomfortable, but you have to admit that in a weird kind of way they can be quite nice. How about you, what is your fondest memory of muscle ache? ;)

Article signature Mathieu

MATHIEU

Long-time fencer. Got into cross training in 2018. Futsal player in my spare time. Hungry for sports experiences!