Why Does Workout Soreness Go Away?

You’ve probably noticed that the soreness you feel after a workout goes away after a day or two. But why does that happen?

Causes of Workout Soreness

Workout soreness, which is often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is a common feeling that comes after physical activity. It is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers and is a natural response to exercise. In this article, we’ll explore why your muscles get sore and what you can do to reduce the discomfort.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a common form of soreness experienced after intense exercise or physical activity. It is typically experienced 24 – 72 hours after the activity and usually resolves on its own. While it can be an unpleasant experience, it can be beneficial in helping to strengthen and condition muscles.

DOMS is caused by microscopic tearing in the muscle fibers when performing heavy resistance training or a particularly intensive physical activity that you’re not accustomed to performing. During this process, inflammation will also occur as fluids enter the area and cause swelling. Eventually, the swelling will reduce subside as your body repairs itself, though it can take several days for this to occur.

There are a variety of ways to help alleviate pain associated with DOMS such as stretching, using low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling instead of weightlifting, and taking hot baths or showers with Epsom Salt which helps naturally relax muscles while providing some much-needed relief from soreness. Additionally, ingesting natural anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric may also help manage DOMS recovery time.

Lactic Acid

One of the primary causes of workout soreness is lactic acid build-up. Lactic acid is produced when your muscles must work harder than their capacity. This leads to an acidic environment in the muscle cells, that start to experience fatigue and become painful post-workout. The pain caused by lactic acid build-up is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and can last for one to three days after exercise. To reduce the amount of lactic acid produced, focus on avoiding overtraining and ensure you take sufficient rest days between workout sessions.

Other causes of post-workout muscular soreness include improper form when exercising, insufficient warm up or cool down, dehydration, lack of stretching post-workout, or using inadequate equipment like improperly fitting shoes or clothing. It is important to listen to your body and adjust your workout plan accordingly if you experience any signs of strain during exercise such as pain or fatigue. You should also evaluate the equipment you are using to ensure it is fit for purpose and that it doesn’t impede on your performance or put too much strain on certain muscles groups. Finally, it is important not to push yourself beyond what you are physically capable of in a given session as this could be counterproductive in terms of progress as well as risking injury from overuse and exhaustion.


Microtrauma, also referred to as microscopic tears, is one of the causes of workout soreness and muscle fatigue. This type of muscular trauma occurs when the body is subjected to physical stress that exceeds its ability to quickly repair itself. During weight training or other forms of exercise that place strain on a muscle or muscle group, microtrauma can occur.

There are two stages associated with any form of microtrauma—the irritable stage and the repair stage. During the irritable stage, tiny capillaries in muscles will break down and then fill with blood causing localized swelling and pain experienced as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). In order for recovery to begin, muscle cells must first fill with protein to heal. Resting and time will help speed up this process.

The protein influx into the damaged cells triggers an inflammatory response which allows for tissue healing proteins (collagen) to be produced and repair the microtears caused by intensive exercise or physical activity. It is thought that this second phase can last anywhere from 24-72 hours. As a result of inflammation occurring in conjunction with collagen production, it is recommended that an individual getting back into physical activity should begin with light exercises that focus on active recovery rather than high intensity activities until full strength has been achieved again in order to avoid overtraining injuries or setbacks in progress.

Benefits of Workout Soreness

Workout soreness is usually regarded as an inevitable side effect of physical activity but there may be more to it than meets the eye. Studies have show that muscle soreness can actually have a few different benefits. It can help to improve the body’s ability to adapt and can even aid in the development of muscle strength and size. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of workout soreness.


Muscle soreness is a common side effect of physical activity and a normal part of the adaptation process. When you perform any activity, your muscles must adapt to the new forces they are exposed to. In most cases, this adaptation process is what leads to improved fitness and performance over time.

Adaptation can take place at both the cellular level, where your muscles create more mitochondria and capillaries, or at the tissue level, where your muscles become stronger and develop greater endurance as they repair themselves after exercise. This is why proper form and good nutrition are so important when engaging in physical activity – to allow your body to best adapt to the demands placed on it during exercise.

The most common type of inflammation that occurs with exercise-induced muscle soreness is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS usually occurs during activities that require high levels of exertion or force — like running on a treadmill for an hour — but can also present itself after shorter workouts that involve unfamiliar exercises that use different muscle groups than what’s used for regular day-to-day movements. Unaccustomed eccentric contractions — lengthening a muscle while under tension — are typically responsible for this type of soreness which develops within 24 – 48 hours post-exercise and subsides within 72 hours.

Although DOMS can be painful, it’s important to remember that it’s only temporary and its presence indicates successful adaptation taking place inside your body – giving you clues as to how you can push yourself harder next time around!

Increased Strength

Noticing soreness after a workout can make us dread going to the gym, but there are some true benefits of the after-effects. One of the most important benefits is increased strength. A good post-workout soreness symbolizes that we are pushing our bodies and providing our muscles with an adaptive stimulus to increase strength.

When we exercise, our body works to repair and rebuild itself by producing proteins known as actin and myosin which help build muscle fibers. Although this process occurs whether you experience workout soreness or not, it does not necessarily guarantee strength gains when you don’t reach what is considered an overload point for a muscle group. Reaching an overload point can be accomplished by increasing the amount of weight lifted, performing a more challenging variation of an exercise, or exercising for longer periods of time*. When this occurs, cellular fatigue forces your muscles to grow back stronger than they were before!

By providing your body with sufficient post-workout guidance in the form of foam rolling or quality stretching as part of your recovery routine, you will be able to experience maximum benefit from your soreness and achieve long-term strength goals.

Improved Endurance

Improved endurance is one of the many potential benefits of workout-induced soreness. After a period of tough exercise, your muscles become more resistant to fatigue, allowing your workouts to last longer while performing at the same level. This increased endurance is generated as a response to the repeated muscular contractions and stretches needed during physical activity. The exhaustion that initially results from this type of demanding activity can leave you feeling completely spent.

However, once your body starts to adapt, you’ll find that you can quickly recover and push yourself even further next time. This can lead to tremendous gains in strength and vigor through frequent workouts over time. The feeling might be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but it’s a sign those hard efforts are doing their job. Improved endurance results from an increased ability to resist fatigue during exercise, so keep pushing yourself and eventually, you won’t have any soreness at all!

Treating Workout Soreness

Workout soreness is a normal occurrence that is experienced by many athletes and fitness enthusiasts. After working out, your muscles may become sore as a result of micro-tears in the muscle fiber. This postulation is mild and can be easily managed with a few simple treatments. In this article, we will discuss the various treatments for workout soreness and how to prevent it from occurring in the future.


Rest is crucial when it comes to working out and relieving workout soreness. Rest allows your body to fully recover and heal, which is the foundation for being able to workout consistently. During a rest day, you should avoid any type of physical activity that could cause injury or further strain sore muscles and joints. Instead, focus on relaxation techniques like foam-rolling and stretching. This not only helps to reduce inflammation in sore muscles, but it also improves mobility which can help prevent future injuries from occurring. While you may have been able to push through the strain of a workout session before, it’s important to remember that your body needs time for recovery, especially if you’re feeling extra sore. The more rest you allow yourself between workouts, the easier it will be for your body to heal and be prepared for the next physical challenge ahead.


Staying hydrated is an important factor in helping sore muscles recover. When the body becomes dehydrated, the muscles become more acidic, leading to greater fatigue and delayed muscle repair. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day, particularly during and after a workout, to maintain adequate hydration levels and allow for adequate recovery.

Adequate electrolyte levels when re-hydrating are also important as this will help replenish your muscles with essential minerals which can help reduce soreness associated with exercise. Eating proper nutrition throughout the day is highly desirable as your body requires quality proteins, carbohydrates and fats as fuel in order to repair and rebuild muscle tissue post workout.

Finally, getting enough sleep after a workout is crucial in allowing the body time to rest so that it can heal and repair any injuries or damage caused by exercise. Aim for seven to nine hours per night of quality sleep and stay away from drinking alcohol or caffeine before going to bed as these can interfere with your body’s ability to get adequate restful sleep.


Stretching your muscles before and after workouts will help keep them flexible and help eliminate workout soreness. Before exercising, dynamic stretching helps ensure that the muscles are warm and prepared for movement. Think of dynamic stretching as a lighter version of the actual exercise you intend to do, rather than holding a static stretch. After your workout is finished, static stretches are effective at maintaining flexibility while helping reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Static stretches should be held for 15-30 seconds each, avoiding sudden movements and bouncing to avoid injury.

Foam rolling can also be helpful in loosening the muscles that become tense during intense physical activity. Foam rolling will increase circulation to help reduce inflammation and increase recovery. Other ways to reduce soreness during workouts include using proper form so that you don’t overwork particular parts of your body or keep an eye on your nutrition so that it isn’t taxing on your system too much. Eating foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits can help promote healing while reducing inflammation.

Prevention of Workout Soreness

Workout soreness can be a common issue for anyone who is an active in physical exercise. In the short term, this can be quite uncomfortable. However, this is often a sign that an exercise routine is working. If you are looking to prevent workout soreness, there are a few tips that can help. Let’s go into some of the most effective ways to prevent workout soreness.


Warm-up is an important step of preventing workout soreness. Prior to engaging in any strenuous physical activity, your body should be gradually warmed up with some light stretching, jogging or walking. This gradually increases your heart rate and circulation, helping to warm up the body’s muscles and joints. Not only does regular warming up help to prevent workout-related pain but it can also reduce the risk of injury due to increased flexibility. Additionally, a warm-up during exercise will allow for higher intensity levels during whatever physical activity you are about to do. Therefore, keeping a regular warm-up routine prior to working out is essential for preventing post-workout soreness and decreasing the intensity of existing muscle soreness.

Proper Form

When it comes to preventing workout soreness, proper form is key. A correct form in your exercises allows you to target the right muscles and reduce chances of injury. Taking the time to learn how to properly perform each exercise can greatly reduce any post-workout soreness. Common mistakes such as jerking while lifting or performing exercises too quickly can lead to improper form, straining muscles that shouldn’t be used in the particular move and thereby overloading other muscle groups that are being unintentionally worked instead. Additionally, it’s important to warm up prior to working out as this will help loosen muscles and joints, reducing strain on them during activity. Stretching for five minutes can also help prevent injury and consequent soreness after a workout session by increasing blood flow throughout the body. It’s also important to listen to your body; if something doesn’t feel right during a exercise consider modifying it or resting during that set of movements.

Gradual Increase in Intensity

One of the best ways to prevent soreness is by gradually increasing intensity when starting a new workout routine. Whether you are a beginner just starting out or a seasoned athlete, it’s important to ease into your new routine. You can do this by slowly increasing the amount of weight you lift or reps you do when exercising, as well as the frequency and duration of your workouts. This type of progression will not only reduce your risk for workout soreness but also help you reach your fitness goals more efficiently.

You may find that you initially experience some soreness until your body adjusts to the new exercise regimen. If this occurs, try icing the affected area for 20 minutes post-workout to further reduce any potential soreness before it begins. Additionally, consider taking rest days throughout the week, focusing on stretching and foam rolling before and after each session, as well as staying hydrated throughout the day while exercising. Practicing these self-care strategies will help protect your body from unwanted discomfort while still allowing you to successfully reach your personal fitness goals!


So why does the soreness of a workout eventually dissipate? Essentially, as your muscles adapt to the stress you place on them during exercise, they repair themselves and become stronger over time. This process is known as muscle adaptation and it’s at the heart of why post-workout soreness doesn’t last forever.

Over time, your muscles can become accustomed to the strains you place upon them during your workouts and are better able to handle it after repeated exposure. This makes it less likely that you’ll experience painful levels of soreness after working out again in the future. It also explains why certain exercises might make you more sore if their intensity is increased or when first attempting them for very the first time.

Your body’s remarkable ability to grow stronger with regular exercise shouldn’t be underestimated. With patience, dedication and proper recovery protocols in place, you can usually expect your body to become less sensitive to post-workout soreness over time as its muscles become increasingly adapted to exercise-related stress.

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